Gary Lineker, the face of Walkers crisps, has urged the company to stop advertising in The Sun after the newspaper ran controversial front pages about the refugee crisis and attacked him for speaking out on the issue.
The BBC presenter, who has fronted Walkers’ adverts for 21 years, this week gave his backing to a campaign to persuade companies not to advertise in newspapers that are responsible for “divisive hate campaigns”.
And, when asked by a Daily Mail journalist whether he would be speaking to Walkers about withdrawing its adverts, he replied: “[I] already have."
People would have to “wait and see” the outcome of the discussions, he added.
However, a Walkers spokesperson suggested the company was unlikely to agree to Lineker’s request.
They said: “We have a very successful partnership with Gary Lineker and we will continue to do so. Our advertising approach is not determined by the editorial stances of individual newspapers.”
The former England striker caused a stir last month after tweeting his anger at people questioning the age of child refugees entering Britain from Calais. The Sun and Daily Mail had openly questioned whether the migrants qualified as children.
Lineker wrote: “The treatment by some towards these young refugees is hideously racist and utterly heartless. What’s happening to our country?”
The Sun responded by labelling Lineker a “jug-eared leftie luvvie” and calling for the BBC to sack him.
Lineker dismissed the criticism, saying: "'Getting a bit of a spanking today, but things could be worse – Imagine, just for a second, being a refugee having to flee from your home."
Calais Refugee Children arrive in UK
Calais Refugee Children arrive in UK
A coach carrying the first group of unaccompanied minors from the Jungle migrant camp in Calais to be brought to Britain arrives at an immigration centre in Croydon, south London
A Catholic priest chats to Muslim Imans as they wait for the arrival of the coach carrying the first group of unaccompanied minors from the Jungle migrant camp in Calais to be brought to Britain arrives at an immigration centre in Croydon, south London
Fourteen migrant children from the 'Jungle Camp' in Calais are due to arrive in the UK today to be reunited with relatives
Young men are escorted after stepping off a coach at the Home Offices Lunar House
A boy is escorted after stepping off a coach at the Home Offices Lunar House after arriving from the Calais 'Jungle Camp'
UK Border Force staff escort the first group of unaccompanied minors from the Jungle migrant camp in Calais to be brought to Britain as they arrive at an immigration centre in Croydon, south London
A young boy arrives on a coach at the Home Offices Lunar House after leaving the Calais 'Jungle Camp.' Fourteen migrant children from the 'Jungle Camp' in Calais are due to arrive in the UK today to be reunited with relatives
British former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, center, flanked by Bethany Gardiner-Smith, left, from the Citizens UK charity and Bishop of Croydon Jonathan Clark speaks to the media about the 14 migrant children who will be resettled in the UK, outside Croydon Minster church in Croydon, south London
Asif Khan whose brother Aimal Khan was one of fourteen migrant children who arrived in the UK, speaks to the media outside Lunar House in Croydon, south London. The 25-year-old chef has been living in the UK for 11 years, having fled Afghanistan himself. His brother Aimal Khan, 14, also from Afghanistan, had been stranded in the Jungle for six months
The Stop Funding Hate campaign is calling on companies including John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, and Waitrose to pull its Christmas adverts from what it calls the “anti-migrant press”.
It said: “Christmas is a time that we celebrate timeless human values – love and generosity, family, friendship, kindness and compassion.
“It’s also a time that the big retailers – like John Lewis and Sainsbury's – invest millions in TV advertising campaigns, tapping into these values to reinforce their place in our national psyche.
“But as Christmas approaches there's another story that deserves consideration. Because when the tinsel comes down, John Lewis, Sainsburys, and other retailers spend their Christmas profits advertising in newspapers whose values are the antithesis of ‘peace on earth and goodwill to all’."
The campaign’s latest video, focusing on Christmas adverts being placed in right-ring newspapers, has been shared 15,000 times on Twitter.