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BBC reinstate Gary Lineker on MOTD after backlash

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has reinstated Math of the Day (MOTD) presenter Gary Lineker after forcing him to step back last week.

The BBC suspended the former Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona striker due to his tweets against United Kingdom’s immigration policies.

Lineker criticised the government’s language while declaring its controversial asylum policy. He compared it to the language used by Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

His comments were in response to a statement made by Home Secretary Suella Braverman. She claimed that the British government had to stop boats from bringing immigrants to the nation.

The BBC suspended Lineker on Friday following his comments, but a severe backlash followed.

His MOTD colleagues said they would not be on the show during the weekend’s games.

Ian Wright, Alex Scott, Jermaine Jenas, Jermain Defoe, Alan Shearer and several other presenters said they would not appear on the BBC in solidarity with Lineker.

The BBC cancelled some of their sports shows. They also reduced matchday coverage due to the unavailability of presenters.

Many people also shared Lineker’s views and backed his stance. The BBC has had to rethink its position and they have brought him back into the fold.

A statement from BBC Director-General Tim Davie read: “Everyone recognises this has been a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences.

“I apologise for this. The potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance that was introduced in 2020 is recognised. I want to get matters resolved and our sport content back on air.

“Impartiality is important to the BBC. It is also important to the public. The BBC has a commitment to impartiality in its Charter and a commitment to freedom of expression.

“That is a difficult balancing act to get right where people are subject to different contracts and on-air positions, and with different audience and social media profiles.

“The BBC’s social media guidance is designed to help manage these sometimes difficult challenges and I am aware there is a need to ensure that the guidance is up to this task. It should be clear, proportionate, and appropriate.”

Davie said there would be an independent review of the BBC’s social media usage guidelines.

Lineker expressed delight at being able to return to his job and thanked his colleagues who stood by him. He will likely receive an apology from the BBC.

The 62-year-old doubled down on his immigration stance in his return statement.

“However difficult the last few days have been, it simply doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away,” he said.

“It’s heartwarming to have seen the empathy towards their plight from so many of you. We remain a country of predominantly tolerant, welcoming and generous people. Thank you.”

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