GB News chairman Andrew Neil has spoken out about the channel’s first month of broadcasting, amid a backlash over one of its presenters taking the knee and low viewing figures.

As discussions continued over whether the men’s England football team should have taken the knee during their Euro 2020 matches – an anti-racist gesture made popular through the Black Lives Matter movement – GB News presenter Guto Harri took the knee live on air on Tuesday.

“It’s an important gesture,” he said.

In a hilarious case of irony, viewers chose to boycott the ‘anti-woke’ news channel, with GB News reportedly attracting zero viewers at some points during this week – according to the ratings agency Barb.

On Thursday, GB News issued a statement criticising its own presenter, saying that while they “do not have a company line on taking the knee”, Harri’s actions were “an unacceptable breach of our standards”.

The comment was mocked by users online as being “contradictory”, and others pointed out that the channel, which was against so-called ‘cancel culture’, had effectively ‘cancelled’ one of its own presenters.

However, Andrew Neil, who chose to take a break from his flagship 8pm programme for a “few weeks”, took to Twitter to defend the channel after its rocky start.

“Start ups are fraught and fractious. @GBNews is no exception. But the news channel is finding its feet and has a great future. Watch this space,” he tweeted.

The former BBC News presenter’s comments have since been met with ridicule, with many referencing the channel’s tumbling viewership and its statement on Harris’ knee-taking:

Even guests on their actual shows couldn’t resist making a joke.

Others, meanwhile, got behind the journalist and the channel:

Clearly, GB News is struggling to stand on its own two feet – probably because one of its presenters has taken the knee live on air…

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