Furious Gary Lineker hits back at criticism that he should ‘stay out of politics’ | Politics | News

May 14, 2024
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Gary Lineker dismissed criticism that he “should stay out of politics” after a series of social media controversies.

The Match of the Day presenter insisted the topics he speaks out on are “humanitarian issues”.

The BBC‘s highest-paid star told Ruthie’s Table 4 podcast: “People say you should stay out of politics and stuff, I don’t really see them necessarily as just political issues, I think they’re humanitarian issues that I take a stand for.

“I think I’ve changed as a person as I’ve got older. When I was young I was cold, I was driven, I never thought about things like that.

“What changed for me really was social media because I got involved, got on Twitter and I quite enjoyed it and I grew a big following. If you’ve got a platform like that, I just think what a waste it would be not to use it as a power for good.”

The ex-England footballer, who has recently spoken out on immigration, climate change and the Gaza conflict, suggested his critics lack empathy and said he would be “ashamed” if he did not air his views.

Lineker said: “Human beings [are] not being kind enough to each other everywhere. Particularly this kind of tribality that we have, it’s them and us, and they’re foreigners, and they’re coming here.

“Put yourself in a situation where say it was London and suddenly we’re being bombed like they are perhaps now in Gaza or that kind of situation.

“Imagine you had to try somehow to flee home and you jumped in a very risky boat and you travel around half the world and eventually arrive at a country and nobody wants you.

“It’s just the lack of empathy that I find hard to believe. Imagine how desperate things have got to be to jump in a dinghy and risk your life and the lives of your children to seek of sanctuary.

“I think it’s incomprehensible. I understand some people don’t have any empathy at all for anyone [but] I would have been ashamed of myself if I didn’t at least take a stance about something that I felt quite strongly about.”

The BBC presenter, who is paid £1.35million a year by the corporation, sparked an impartiality row last year after taking to social media to slam the Government’s illegal immigration crackdown and compare language used to that of Nazi Germany.

New social media rules by the broadcaster in the wake of the furore allow high-profile presenters outside of news and current affairs to express personal views on issues but they must stop short of political campaigning.



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