GB News: Why are advertisers boycotting the new TV channel?

Ikea, Kopparberg, Octopus Energy and Open University withdraw adverts

Samuel Osborne
Monday 21 June 2021 11:39 BST
Andrew Neil launches GB News with vow to ‘puncture the pomposity of our elites’

Several brands have pulled their advertising from GB News, the upstart TV channel promising to combat so-called cancel culture.

Ikea, Kopparberg and Octopus Energy have withdrawn their adverts from the network after it was launched on Sunday.

Why did the brands pull their advertising?

Swedish furniture giant Ikea said it had "not knowingly" advertised on GB News.

It added: "We are in the process of investigating how this may have occurred to ensure it won't happen again in future, and have suspended paid display advertising in the meantime."

In its statement, cider firm Kopparberg also said it was unaware its adverts were running on the channel and said they had been suspended "pending further review of its content".

Octopus said it would only advertise with GB News if it proved to be "genuinely balanced".

The Open University also paused its advertising.

How has GB News responded?

Responding to Ikea, veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil, who fronts the channel, shared a story about the company's French arm being fined £1m and its CEO handed a two-year suspended sentence after it spied on employees for three years.

Neil wrote: "IKEA has decided to boycott GB News because of our alleged values. Here are IKEA's values - a French CEO who is a criminal with a two year suspended jail sentence for spying on staff."

Piers Morgan, who has been linked to GB News following his departure from Good Morning Britain, also responded to Ikea and said: "Oh shut up, you pathetic virtue-signalling twerps. I'm now boycotting IKEA."

Why has GB News faced criticism?

GB News was launched as a rival to news and current affairs offerings such as the BBC and Sky.

During its launch, Mr Neil said the channel would not be "another echo chamber for the metropolitan mindset that already dominates so much of the media".

However, the channel has faced accusations it will be broadcasting US-style partisan news shows in the UK.

Campaign group Stop Funding Hate has challenged advertisers on social media.

GB News captured a host of high-profile signings, including former Sky Sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher, ex-BBC presenter Simon McCoy and former ITV presenter Alastair Stewart.

In his opening monologue, former BBC political interviewer Mr Neil said the channel will "puncture the pomposity of our elites in politics, business, media and academia and expose the growing promotion of cancel culture for the threat to free speech and democracy that it is".

GB News will broadcast seven days a week across the UK and Ireland.

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