Graham Norton blasted by BBC for wearing red World AIDS Day charity ribbon

According to BBC guidelines, staff are to stay 'independent and distanced from charities and their agendas'

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The Independent Online

Graham Norton was issued with a warning from the BBC after he wore a red World AIDS Day charity ribbon on his chat show on 29 November.

The host was apparently the only person who received a telling off from the broadcaster, despite the fact his guests on The Graham Norton Show – Jeremy Clarkson, Jo Brand, Sharon Osbourne and Colin Farrell – all wore the same pin.

According to BBC guidelines, staff are to stay “independent and distanced from government initiatives, campaigners, charities and their agendas".

BBC entertainment controller Mark Linsey confirmed that he reprimanded Norton and his production company So Television over their actions.

Speaking to the BBC’s in-house magazine Ariel, he said: “World AIDS Day is an issue which Graham cares passionately about and he did wear a World AIDS Day insignia on his programme.

“However, this is in breach of BBC guidelines. The production company has been contacted and reminded that he cannot do this and Graham has accepted he was wrong to do so. The BBC has been assured it will not occur again.”

The BBC do, however, allow for the wearing of the poppy, which is worn in support of the Royal British Legion.

The issue of the promotional exception was raised by a BBC reporter, who had been told that the comic was “in the wrong” for wearing the ribbon on a training course.

He asked: “Can you ask the powers-that-be what action has, or is, being taken as a result of this (and) is it only 'talent' on big contracts who can flout rules if they disagree with them?”

Norton himself is yet to comment.