The broadcaster hastily tried to repair the damage two days after the event by issuing a blistering statement condemning Harri’s actions as an “unacceptable breach of our standards.” Then, on Friday, sources told The Guardian that Harri had been suspended “indefinitely.”
And yet, by criticising the host’s expression of his opinion on what touts itself as a free speech platform, some Twitter users have argued that GB News has gone against everything it’s supposed to stand for.
@GBNEWS I didn't like watching it but not sure why he is not allowed to express his opinion on a free speech endors… https://t.co/yxcKl2wObH
Three days after the row erupted, GB News finally made the call to cut Harri loose, The Guardian reports.
Friends of the commentator and former spokesman for Boris Johnson, told the paper: “GB News is becoming an absurd parody of what it proclaimed to be – not defending free speech and combatting cancel culture but replicating it on the far right. Nasty.
“It’s ridiculous to say he’s breached editorial standards and almost certainly defamatory. In reality it wasn’t a breach of editorial code but ‘sacked for offending the lynch mob’.”
Meanwhile, right-wing fans really weren’t lying when they vowed to stop watching the channel following Harri’s move on Tuesday.
Business editor Liam Halligan and former Labour MP Gloria De Piero attracted no measurable audience to their show between 1pm and 1.30pm the following day, according to viewing figures produced by rating agency Barb.
Later on Wednesday, at 5pm, GB News’ audience briefly dipped down to zero during a programme co-hosted by ex-BBC presenter Simon McCoy and former Ukip spokesperson Alex Phillips.
Davestation, a show we put on for a laugh at 3am where a man ate a kebab to lift music, had more viewers than GB News.
And yet, despite the network’s fiery rebuttal of Harri’s actions, some of the channel’s other presenters have attempted to defend their colleague.
Neil Oliver, who hosts a weekly show, wrote in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday’s controversy: “My GB News teammate Guto Harri is right to say and do as he sees fit. I do the same. That’s the ethos of the channel. Free speech. We don’t all agree with each other – that’s the point, or else where’s the debate?”
But all that seemed to do was stoke the fires of outrage among many:
@thecoastguy @GBNEWS @Guto_Harri thats fine but i have the right as a viewer to never watch his show again , and i… https://t.co/jBuHsNINcB