Gary Lineker criticised for ‘heartless’ and ‘hopelessly insensitive’ tweet about TV licence fee increase

'Congratulations on winning Twitter's most insensitive tweet,' wrote one user

Annabel Nugent@annabelnugent
Wednesday 10 February 2021 11:13
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Gary Lineker has angered some fans over an “insensitive and crass” tweet regarding the TV license fee increase.

Over the weekend, the BBC announced that the cost of an annual colour TV license is set to rise by £1.50 in April. Viewers will soon have to pay £159 instead of £157.50. 

Lineker tweeted the news, along with the joke: “But, but I’ve just taken a pay cut.” 

According to the BBC’s official list of published salaries, the Match of the Day presenter is currently its highest paid member of staff, earning £1.75 million last year. 

It was also announced last year that the 60-year-old had signed a new five-year deal that includes a 23 per cent pay cut. 

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The former footballer’s tweet was not received well by many fans, who called out Lineker for making a “tasteless” joke. 

One user wrote: “Poor joke that its okay for you millionaires but there is alot of people who struggle daily and have to rely on foodbanks so even though the rise is nothing to you and other millionaires its alot of money for some people.”

Another added: “Wow! If it’s a joke, it’s a bad one. If not, then it’s just hopelessly insensitive and crass.”

Others claimed the comment was particularly insensitive due to the ongoing pandemic.

“I know you are having banter and I for one don’t mind that,” wrote one person. “But in these desperate times, where a lot of people are struggling financially and mentally, your timing isn’t great Gary.” 

Someone else echoed the same sentiment, stating: “Massive fan of your quips Gary. I’m not 'offended' like some comments are insinuating, but gut feeling when I first read this was that it missed the mood of the public. Lots struggling and every bill seems to be increasing.”

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“I’ve always liked you but not sure about such a tasteless joke when millions like me, are watching a lifetime of successful business destroyed while also getting zero help. I’ve had NO INCOME since March 2020 but still have to pay your bloody wages,” added a fifth person.

“And with one heartless Tweet Gary has just cancelled the extra income the BBC would likely made,” said another. 

British DJ Doc Scott – real name Scott Mcllroy – responded to the BBC One presenter: “I usually like you and like what you have to say but on this you can go f*** yourself, is that 'funny' enough for you?”

Other people, however, have defended Lineker against the criticism. 

“I think the joke has gone over most people’s heads. Gary is likely saying he took a pay cut so the BBC didn’t have to do things like this to increase the profits,” suggested one user. 

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