ITV London news presenter Charlene White has been the victim of racist insults after choosing not to wear a poppy on-air.
The journalist had decided “a number of years ago” not to wear the Remembrance Day pin in an effort to remain “neutral and impartial” while broadcasting.
But after she appeared on screen without a poppy, a barrage of abuse flooded in from social networks, with viewers calling her a “black c**t” and demanding she “go back to where [she] came from”.
White released a statement on ITV’s website in response, explaining her motive.
A supporter and patron of multiple charities, she said, “I am uncomfortable with giving one of those charities more on-screen time than others”.
In her private life, the presenter said she wears a poppy, as well as a red ribbon for World Aids Day in December, a pink ribbon for breast cancer in October and a badge in April for bowel cancer awareness month.
“I respect and hold in high esteem those in the armed forces, both my father and my uncle have served in the RAF and the Army,” she wrote.
“It flies in the face of everything that millions of British men and women and those in the Commonwealth have fought for for generations, and continue to fit for: the right of freedom of speech and expression.”
The attack on White for not wearing a poppy follows criticism aimed at search engine Google for placing only a “tiny, miniscule” symbol on its UK home page.
Positioned underneath the search bar, Labour MP Gerry Sutcliffe deemed the gesture insufficient. “Around Remembrance Day it is demeaning not to have something that is spectacular,” he told The Telegraph.
Responding to the backlash, a Google spokesman said: “We try to be sensitive and a doodle is sometimes not the most appropriate way to recognise certain events, especially those that are more sombre in nature.”
Ukip is now also been embroiled in the poppy controversy after a furious row sparked over accusations that the party using the memorial ceremony to promote their politics.