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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Danielle Desouza, PA & Joel Leaver

Carol Vorderman, Dawn French and Ian Wright lead stars backing Gary Lineker amid BBC row

A host of celebrities have shared their thoughts on the BBC 's impartiality row involving football pundit Gary Lineker, with a number of them supporting him.

The BBC announced yesterday that Gary, 62, would take a break from hosting Match of the Day until they have "an agreed and clear position" on his use of social media.

Several fellow pundits announced that they would boycott Match of the Day in response, with the show set to air on Saturday night without any presenters or pundits.

Gary became embroiled in a debate over impartiality after comparing the language used to launch a new UK Government asylum policy to Germany in the 1930s.

He said in a post on Twitter earlier this week: "There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries.

"This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s".

Gary Lineker has been embroiled in an impartiality row this week (Getty Images)

Celebrities and fans alike have been sharing their thoughts on social media in recent days, with a number of people having expressed their support for Gary.

Some have taken to Twitter with hashtags such as #StandWithGary and #IStandWithGaryLineker to voice their support for the former footballer.

Here are some of the celebrities who have expressed support.

Carol Vorderman

Media personality Carol Vorderman, 62, who regularly tweets criticism of the UK Government, posted a message this week using the hashtag #IStandWithGary.

She shared footage from BBC's headquarters in London on Saturday which featured a quote from George Orwell. It read: "If Liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

Carol Vorderman has expressed support with Gary (Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Dawn French has also supported the sports pundit (Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Dawn French

Actress and comedian Dawn French, 65, retweeted a post from a Twitter user which read: "Shakespeare saying stand with Gary Lineker. As only he can".

The post quoted a passage from Shakespeare's play Sir Thomas More. Alongside the retweeted post, French added: "This. #IStandWithGaryLineker."

Piers Morgan

TV presenter and journalist Piers Morgan, 57, has said that he "didn't agree" with Gary's tweet, but has expressed support over him being able to express such views.

In one tweet about the situation, he wrote: "Gary didn't say any of it on the BBC, and isn't even a BBC employee… I didn't agree with what he said, but so what? It's HIS opinion."

In another post, Piers said: "Free speech is the cornerstone of democracy - the moment Britons agree to be told what we're allowed to say or think, democracy dies."

Piers Morgan has been vocal with his views (Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Ian Wright has made his thoughts known too (Getty Images)

Ian Wright

Former footballer Ian Wright, 59, has been one of the the most vocal supporters of colleague Gary, with whom he regularly appears alongside on Match Of The Day.

Seemingly addressing the situation on Friday night, he tweeted: "Everybody knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I've told the BBC I won’t be doing it tomorrow. Solidarity."

He also expressed his view on the latest episode of his podcast Wrighty's House. He said: "Let me tell you something if the BBC do get rid of Gary Lineker I am out. I am gone, I am not staying there.

"On his own platform, he should be able to say what he wants to say," Ian said before he later added: "I am behind him."

Alan Shearer

There also appears to be support from fellow pundit Alan Shearer, 52. The former footballer and manager announced that he had pulled out of Saturday's Match Of The Day.

He simply tweeted on Friday: "I have informed the BBC that I won't be appearing on MOTD tomorrow night."

Alan Shearer announced he wouldn't be on Match of the Day, like other celebrities (Visionhaus/Getty Images)
Philip Pullman has also supported Gary (Getty Images)

Philip Pullman

Gary has also received backing from writer Philip Pullman, 76 - who is best known for the His Dark Materials trilogy. The author issued a tweet about the situation this week.

He wrote in a post on the platform: "I hope the BBC finds this all very difficult. Meanwhile, my admiration for Gary Lineker, Ian Wright, and Alan Shearer is unbounded."

Kazuo Ishiguro is said to have expressed his support recently too (Getty Images)
Alex Scott announced she had pulled out of Football Focus this weekend (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Kazuo Ishiguro

It's been reported that novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, 68, has also defended Gary. BBC reporter Colin Paterson said he spoke to the Nobel Prize in Literature recipient at a recent event.

Colin tweeted that Kazuo said: "I think he's become one of the really important cultural figures for the country. I think he stands for really good things. I'm fully behind him on this."

He added that Kazuo said his support was over freedom of speech.

Alex Scott

Pundit and former footballer Alex Scott, 38, has also waded into the row, with her having pulled out of hosting BBC show Football Focus this weekend.

She tweeted on Saturday morning: "I made a decision last night that even though I love doing football focus and we have had an incredible week winning an SJA award that it just doesn’t feel right going ahead with the show today. Hopefully I will be back in the chair next week".

It was later reported that Football Focus and Final Score wouldn't air on Saturday after pundits, such as Alex, pulled out amid the row involving their BBC colleague Gary.

Jermaine Jenas said he would have refused to do Match of the Day on Saturday if he'd been scheduled to appear (Credit: Getty Images) (Visionhaus)
Fern Britton has also waded into the discussion (Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Jermaine Jenas

Fellow pundit and former footballer Jermaine Jenas, 40, has expressed support for Gary this week too. He shared a response to the situation on Friday evening.

The TV presenter tweeted: "I wasn't down to be doing match of the day tomorrow, but if I was I would of said no and stood with my fellow pundits and [Gary]".

Fern Britton

TV presenter Fern Britton, 65, appeared to voice her support for Gary recently.

She initially waded into the debate by saying that whilst she shares Gary's view on the migrant refugees, he has "signed a contract".

Fern said on Friday: "I have signed a few and all of them ask that you are impartial. I'd say that includes sport teams as well as political teams. It may not be fair but that's what you sign."

Fern however later tweeted: "Its now thought that [Gary] might not be bound to the kind of contract a lot of us have been. If that is the case I can stop being so old school!

"While I'm at it, the inhumanity of this govt towards desperate refugees is appalling. And BBC bosses are in the s**t ."

Mark Chapman reportedly decided not to provide football coverage on BBC Radio 5 Live on Saturday (Getty Images)
Fatboy Slim has expressed his support (WireImage)

Mark Chapman

Radio presenter Mark Chapman, 49, reportedly decided to boycott coverage of Saturday's football.

BBC Radio 5 Live is said to provide updates and analysis on the day's events though that is understood to have not happened in full after some staff refused to take part.

Fatboy Slim

Gary has received support from Fatboy Slim, 59. The DJ shared a video with fans on Friday which showed performing at a gig, with a photo of Gary on a screen behind him.

The record producer wrote in the accompanying caption of the post on Twitter: "Enough respect #ImWithGary". He also tagged the TV presenter in the tweet.

Dion Dublin said he wouldn't be on BBC Radio 5 Live on Saturday (Julian Finney)
Jermain Defoe announced he was standing down from some punditry this weekend (Mike Marsland/WireImage)

Dion Dublin

Pundit and former footballer Dion Dublin, 53, has suggested that he is standing in solidarity with BBC colleague Gary this weekend.

Dion, who features on Match of the Day and BBC Radio 5 Live, said he wouldn't be on air on Saturday. He tweeted: "In solidarity with my BBC Sport colleagues NO 5live for me today!"

Jermain Defoe

Jermain Defoe, 40, said he was standing down from his punditry duties this weekend. The former footballer and pundit made the announcement in a tweet on Saturday.

He tagged Gary in a tweet which read: "It's always such a privilege to work with BBC MOTD. But tomorrow I have taken the decision to stand down from my punditry duties."

Jason Mohammad said he had told the BBC he wouldn't be hosting Final Score on Saturday (Getty Images)

Jason Mohammad

TV and radio presenter Jason Mohammad, 49, is another person who has stood down from football coverage this weekend. He tweeted about it on Saturday morning.

He wrote: "As you know, Final Score is a TV show very close to my heart. However - I have this morning informed the BBC that I will not be presenting the show this afternoon on BBC One."

The Mirror has launched a petition to have Gary Lineker reinstated at the BBC and as the host of Match of the Day. Sign it here.

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