British news and sports orgs begin to drop public ‘BLM’ support after extremist statements against capitalism, Israel

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(Photo by CARL RECINE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

A growing number of British news and sports broadcasters are dropping “Black Lives Matter” badges and pins after leaders of the organization have made several controversial political statements.

The BBC, for instance, has instructed its on-air hosts and all guests not to wear BLM paraphernalia after determining that the movement has “hijacked” the death of George Floyd to push a hard-Left political agenda, The Telegraph first reported.

Also, late last month, Sky Sports pundits Jamie Redknapp and Patrice Evra shed their BLM badges, as did host Kelly Cates and commentator Gary Neville, after Premier League soccer resumed following the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK’s Daily Mail added.

The Premier League on Wednesday publicly restated its general support for the BLM movement, noting that players will continue to wear “Black Lives Matter” patches and slogans. Players have been emulating U.S. athletes in ‘taking a knee’ before matches, even though the league has a ban on political messaging during games.

However, the Telegraph adds that the league has also put a little distance between itself and BLM, noting in a statement it recognizes “the importance of the message that black lives matter” but did not “endorse any political organisation or movement, nor support any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity.”

As the BLM’s UK branch has become more militant and controversial, it’s become clear that many are finding it harder to remain publicly allied with the group, the Telegraph notes.

At the BBC, executives have determined that “visual symbols of support” should no longer be worn on-air.

“It comes as a number of high-profile organisations were forced to backtrack on their support for the Black Lives Matter movement as its UK arm publicly criticised Israel and called on the British government to ‘defund the police,’” the Telegraph reported.

Others, including former England player Matt Le Tissier, have also removed BLM badges and logos.

BBC sources told the Telegraph that the broadcaster has always viewed the Black Lives Matter movement as a political campaign and thus, the wearing of BLM logos violated the company’s impartiality rules.

“The BBC cannot be seen to support any kind of cause over another, and Black Lives Matter is certainly a campaign,” the source told the Telegraph. “Therefore we wouldn’t want anyone on-screen to be wearing visual symbols of support.

“Our presenters and guests can discuss Black Lives Matter, and we’ve reported on it in depth. We’re not impartial about racism,” the source continued. “But wearing badges on screen – just as with any other campaign – would be a step too far.”

The Daily Mail noted that the UK chapter “has said it wants to defund the police completely and abolish capitalism and has pledged support for Palestine amid Israel’s plans to annex the West Bank.”

British football club Tottenham Hotspur became the first to publicly break with the BLM movement on Wednesday after the group tweeted that the UK politics had been “gagged of the right to critique Zionism.”

A letter to a concerned fan that was leaked to the Telegraph from Jewish chairman Daniel Levy said he had been “equally disappointed” by the tweets, according to executive director Donna-Maria Cullen.

“It is unacceptable that a value-based action is being hijacked by those with their own political agenda,” she added, the Telegraph reported.

The paper noted further that Hertfordshire Police have backed away from earlier guidance to officers saying officers could make a “personal” decision to take a knee in “solidarity” with BLM protesters in a show of support.

Assistant Chief Constable Bill Jephson said Thursday that the action isn’t always “appropriate.”

“As such the force neither encourages nor discourages officers from taking the knee, but directs that in some operational situations it is not appropriate. As with many aspects of policing, we will keep our position under review,” he said.

Also, the Northumberland County Council has removed a post on its social media pages that endorsed the BLM movement.

“When we get mindless vandalism, when we get talk of de-funding the police and attacks on the police, and when we get people effectively trying to rewrite history, it looks likes a political movement to me,” conservative council member Peter Jackson told the Telegraph.

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Jon Dougherty

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