Holly Willoughby has weighed in on Gary Lineker’s BBC Twitter row by praising her co-workers for showing solidarity.
The broadcaster caused controversy after it made the decision to take Gary, 62, off the air this weekend after the BBC ruled that his ‘Nazi’ mocking tweet comparing the immigration policy of the Ministry of the Interior with Germany in the 1930s violated the rules of impartiality.
Removing Gary from the show led pundits Jermain Defoe, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer to refuse to be on the show, while Alex Scott, Kelly Somers and Jason Mohammad also refused to go on the air in solidarity with Gary.
And speaking about the ongoing drama on Monday’s This Morning alongside co-host Phillip Schofield and commentators Isla Tranquair and Gyles Brandreth, Holly, 42, said she “loved” seeing Gay’s friends stick up for him.
With the presenter stating that there was “something nice” in that all of them came together in support of the former footballer.
Speaking up: Holly Willoughby has weighed in on Gary Lineker’s BBC Twitter row while praising her co-workers for showing solidarity.
Drama: The broadcaster caused controversy after it made the decision to take Gary, 62, off the air this weekend after the BBC ruled that his ‘Nazi’ mocking tweet comparing the politics of immigration from the Ministry of the Interior with Germany in the 1930s violated the rules of impartiality.
She said: ‘Regardless of whether you agree or disagree, what I loved to see was this real solidarity between co-workers and friends.
‘I think #solidarity was trending on Twitter. Ian Wright, Alan Shearer, Jermaine Jenas, Alex Scott, Mark Chapman… they all also pulled out of their own shows in solidarity with him.
There is something good in that!
Meanwhile, co-host Phillip commented that the whole debacle was ‘a mess!’
While journalist Isla agreed that it was “a mess and unnecessary”, she commented that she believed Gary was “right” while reviewing the BBC’s guidelines on the use of social media.
She added: ‘What did you expect? There was to be a riot and I thought it was dramatic and exciting!’
It comes after the BBC pleaded with Gary on Monday to return to host Match of the Day without further punishment, or new slashes on his tweets, after bosses retracted his anti-Tory posts and even offered him an apology for the fiasco.
In an extraordinary capitulation just 72 hours after taking it off the air, CEO Tim Davie has apologized and agreed a peace deal with the 62-year-old footballer-turned-broadcaster, who will now host coverage of the World Cup quarter-finals. FA this weekend.
Thoughts: Holly, 42, spoke about the ongoing drama on Monday’s This Morning alongside co-host Phillip Schofield and commentators Isla Tranquair and Gyles Brandreth, saying she “loved” seeing Gay’s friends defend him.
I love watching it: with the presenter stating that there was ‘something good’ in all of them coming together in support of the former footballer
Opinion: While journalist Isla agreed that it was “a mess and unnecessary”, she commented that she believed Gary was “right” while reviewing the BBC’s guidelines on social media use.
MailOnline understands that those who came out in support of the MotD presenter, including Alan Shearer, Ian Wright and Mark Chapman, will also not face any action from BBC bosses, and Lineker thanked them for their “remarkable show of solidarity”.
It marks a major victory for the former England captain, the corporation’s highest-paid star at £1.35m a year, over the BBC in a crisis sparked by his tweets comparing the government’s crackdown on immigrants in small boats with Nazi Germany of the 1930s.
Lineker said today he “can’t wait” to return to the BBC this weekend, but defiantly faced criticism, suggesting some of his detractors are bigots.
He tweeted: “As difficult as the last few days have been, it just doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a faraway land.” It is touching to have seen the empathy towards his plight from so many of you. We remain a predominantly tolerant, welcoming and generous country. Thank you’.
Davie, who is facing calls to resign over the debacle, insisted he did “the right thing” to ask Lineker to “step aside” but admitted he had taken stock over the weekend and invited the star to get back to work, blaming confusion’ and ‘grey areas’ in the BBC’s social media guide, which will now be reviewed.
But experts have said “ambiguities” in the presenter’s contract mean the corporation can’t force him to follow its rules, which prohibit staff members from making political comments.
It’s back: It comes after the BBC pleaded with Gary on Monday to reintroduce Match of the Day without further punishment, or new slashes on his tweets.
Announcement: Gary Lineker announces his return to Game of the Day in a defiant series of tweets, in which he spoke about refugees
Lawyers are said to have told the BBC they could not sack him without a multimillion-dollar payday.
Conservative MP Philip Davies told MailOnline: “This pathetic capitulation by the BBC is the beginning of the end for the license fee.
“The BBC can no longer credibly claim to believe in political impartiality and, more importantly, it has shown that it lacks the courage to enforce it.
“Now it’s a free for all at the BBC as they can’t let their highest paid and best known presenter say what he likes and fire other people who work there for similar offences.
“This is a terrible day for the BBC, but a very good day for those who want to see the reverse of the license fee.
Standing still: BBC director-general Tim Davie, pictured on Monday, has denied he will resign over the dispute and denied that the corporation’s handling of the dispute has been catastrophic.
‘Gary Lineker has done more than anyone for that campaign and I thank him.
His epitaph will read “Gary Lineker, the man who destroyed the BBC license fee.” This is a defining moment. It is now inevitable that the license fee will end, and it will end sooner than would have been the case due to Gary Lineker and his left-wing friends at the BBC. And for that we can rejoice.
Tom Hunt, the Conservative MP for Ipswich, said: “The BBC shouldn’t hide behind these ‘freelance contracts’ as a way for their well-known presenters to circumvent impartiality rules. If taxpayers pay them millions and they are widely perceived as BBC presenters, clearly that should come with duties of impartiality.”
Support: Protesters gather outside the BBC’s main sports studio in Salford to show their support for Gary Lineker over the weekend.
Shock: Saturday’s day game was cut to just 20 minutes in length as presenters, staff and commentators refused to come to work in support of Lineker.
The row over his tweets saw Match of the Day and Match of the Day 2 reduced to short shows with no hosts, pundits, commentators or his famous tune. On-screen talent, including former England strikers Shearer and Wright, refused to appear in “solidarity” with Lineker.
There was even a pro-Lineker protest outside the BBC in Salford and rumors that the Premier League is so furious over the scandal that it may favor ITV during the next round of contract negotiations.
Thanking his supporters, Lineker said: ‘After a surreal few days, I’m delighted that we’ve navigated this path. I want to thank you all for the incredible support, particularly my colleagues at BBC Sport, for the remarkable show of solidarity. Soccer is a team game, but their support was overwhelming.
“I have been presenting sports on the BBC for almost 3 decades and I am immensely proud to work with the best and fairest broadcaster in the world. I can’t wait to get back in the MOTD chair on Saturday.’