To the Chairperson of the BBC,
I am appalled by the BBC management's decision to suspend Gary Lineker from hosting Match of the Day, unless he agrees to no longer voice his personal view on a matter of public interest - the government's apalling, dangerous rhetoric on asylum seekers. It is a blow to free expression in our country and a historic own goal for the Corporation. Only yesterday, the BBC said Gary will not be suspended or disciplined; and yet, less than 24 hours later, you choose to U-tun - and to lie about your decision, by issuing the false statement that Gary is stepping back of his own accord.
Let me be clear: Gary has absolutely nothing to apologise for.
First, Gary made his comment in his personal capacity, on his personal Twitter account, not on air. Second, he didn’t compare your patrons in the Tory party to Nazis - he merely said, as mildly as it can be said, that Suella Braverman’s rhetoric reminds him of the rhetoric employed in Germany in the 1930’s. And third, he is far from the first to make this analogy - indeed, a Holocaust survivor and a trustee of the Holocaust Education Trust made that same comparison, to Braverman’s face, as recently as last month.
We call on you to return Gary to Match of the Day before the next program is out. And we call on all sports guests and commentators to boycott the show until Gary is back in place.
Subject: Bring Back Gary Lineker
Dear Mr Sharp,
Please find attached a message from many, many of your compatriots deeply concerned by your irresponsible decision to suspend Gary Lineker from Match of the Day.
We hope you take it to heart.
[Your e-mail address]
[Your postal address]