Daily Mail

He hurled an ugly slur and threw me to Twitter wolves

- By Nana Akua Nana Akua is a journalist and broadcaste­r on GB News

IN THE autumn of 2021, I became embroiled in a deeply distressin­g situation: facing a grotesque and, it seemed, unending stream of targeted abuse on social media, including racist slurs and death threats. My crime? I had dared to speak out on a TV talk show in support of then-home secretary Priti Patel’s commitment to turning back migrants who were arriving on our shores in their tens of thousands every year.

It is a position shared by millions across the country, of course – but one the Left often regard with haughty disdain. Inevitably, one of their most self-promoting halopolish­ers was quick to condemn my views in the most personal terms.

Together with a video clip of my comments, Gary Lineker tweeted to his army of fanatical followers (standing at more than 8.7 million today) accusing me of an ‘extraordin­ary lack of empathy for our fellow

human beings’. He ended with a simple slur: ‘Vile.’

This felt to me like bullying – and inevitably resulted in an onslaught from his screeching fans, which still shocks me to this day.

This extraordin­arily rich and powerful white man, who prides himself on his achingly liberal ‘be kind’ outlook, was using his influence to shout down a black woman of considerab­ly less power – and in effect throwing her to the wolves of social media.

I’m hardly a shrinking violet, but I thought it was deplorable. I believed strongly that Lineker’s personal attack had strayed way beyond the impartiali­ty he is meant to adhere to as the BBC’s highest earner – currently on a prepostero­us £1.35million a year.

But of course, this wasn’t his first offence. Sometimes it feels like barely a week goes by without Loudmouth Lineker signalling his woke credential­s.

I wrote to Lineker’s boss, BBC head of sport Philip Bernie, as well as the BBC’s overall chief Tim Davie to complain. Their responses were little short of a fob-off. Formal complaints to the BBC’s in- house department were treated in a similarly dismissive fashion.

Bernie claimed Lineker had merely given his ‘personal response’ to my views.

‘There was no intention of provoking any abuse,’ he added. Rubbish.

Lineker is an obsessive social media performer: I cannot believe that he would not have predicted precisely what happened.

And it’s telling that he didn’t take the post down.

There was further hypocrisy at play, too.

As a freelancer, rather than a member of the BBC’s staff, Lineker was not a full-time employee when he unleashed his partisan attack on me. Yet nor was I when, three years earlier, I had been severely reprimande­d by the BBC after making a series of comments on talk shows while I was also contracted to present some of the Beeb’s religious and mental health programmin­g.

For example, during an interview with Jeremy Vine on his Channel 5 show, I’d suggested that paedophile­s should be given the death penalty. It was a strong statement, yes, and – as the BBC made clear to me in extremely frank terms – it had broken their impartiali­ty rules.

As a result, I was eventually stripped of two of the six programmes I hosted for Auntie. I can’t say I wasn’t cross, but I accepted it. The BBC was within its rights.

But why, when Lineker treated me with such partisan thoughtles­sness, did the same not apply to him?

Undoubtedl­y, he is a big beast at the BBC, with a big ego to match. But this special dispensati­on he apparently receives has got to stop. Otherwise it makes a mockery of the BBC’s claims to ‘impartiali­ty’ – and insults millions of licence fee payers.

 ?? ?? Death threats: Nana Akua
Death threats: Nana Akua

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