Reader comments · BBC: We won’t change our rules, presenters cannot wear red ribbons on World AIDS Day · PinkNews

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BBC: We won’t change our rules, presenters cannot wear red ribbons on World AIDS Day

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  1. In fairness and neutrality, it should be either allowed for all, or not. The wars are historical, and yes, we should remember them, and those who died for them, but AIDS is still very much real and a problem, with many millions dying from it. I can’t think of a better reason to raise awareness than that.

    1. agree with you.

    2. It’s not “special treatment”. What is wrong with you?
      The argument is that presenters should be able to show support for whatever charities they like, within reason.
      It’s completely illogical to allow one charity to be supported on air, while refusing to allow others the same.

      That’s the very DEFINITION of bias.

    3. I’m not arguing that breast cancer and heart disease charities shouldn’t be represented.
      I clearly stated what my opinion was in the first line.
      All OR none. Allow presenters to raise awareness for any officially recognized charity, if they so wish, as long as the way in which they raise the awareness is subtle and not distracting. Like bands and poppies.
      It’s unfair to favour one. And there are more worthwhile causes than past wars. HIV (and breast cancer etc) is very real and killing millions around the world. The world war I&II did pose a threat, but is no longer a threat.

  2. “We won’t change our rules”

    Well I’m changing mine and no longer paying the license fee as your organisation does not represent me in any way.


    1. The poppy isn’t really about dead soldiers – at least in the UK, it is very strongly associated with the British Legion, which mostly works on rehabilitating currently serving soldiers so they can get back to the front lines, as well as glorifying the military and war in general.

      Also, the BBC is currently run by a Tory, and this article specifically highlights criticism of them by a Labour MP.

      1. Not quite, the chairman is a tory, the vice chairman has been a special advisor to a labour minister and the DG is a crossbencher.

  3. If presenters aren’t allowed to wear them, then they should do the same for gusts and see how far THAT gets the BBC

    1. Michael Anthony 13 Dec 2013, 3:23pm

      Guests should be allowed to wear them or any ribbon they want. Its called a viewpoint. They do the same when they have debates. Presenters are different, they ate supposed to remain neutral in debates, causes, etc.

      There are ribbons for everything. If you allow presenters to wear one, then you have to allow them to wear any of them. I’m sure if there was a “traditional marriage” one,some presenter would want to wear it.

  4. It’s a rather odd ruling. I mean the staff are pretty much forced to wear a Poppy but banned from other badges? I have no issue with the Poppy at all FYI. All the guests on the show had the ribbon on so technically aren’t they “promoting”?
    If they BBC don’t want to endorse any particular charity then why does this policy only extend to the staff? Seems rather weird. I don’t think Graham should have been reprimanded

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 13 Dec 2013, 2:14pm

      I bet if Graham refused to wear a poppy, there would be uproar. Hypocrisy of the BBC. About time it was privatised and licence fee binned.

      It barely portrays LGBT people in a positive light. We all remember their bias during the equal marriage debate giving more time to the religious opponents and scant mention after its successful passage, so much so that even Whitehall complained as one example.

      1. I have no doubt about it. He would have been in just as much trouble, if not more AND the Daily Mail would have a hate campaign against him.
        I think it’s complete hypocrisy to say they don’t promote any charity yet have the Poppy every year on all employees. Surely staff can wear a ribbon or another badge without it being reflective of the whole company? It’s not like they have the badges on the idents before/between each show

  5. Your link to the site is not working so that I cannot sign.

  6. Angel Perez 13 Dec 2013, 1:12pm

    it’s either all or nothing. Get rid of the poppy and then we won’t have a problem.

  7. “but, to ensure impartiality, cannot favour one charity or cause over another by allowing the wearing of charitable or campaigning insignia by on screen talent.

    “…the BBC has a long standing convention of allowing its presenters, reporters and pundits to wear poppies on screen if they wish to in the run up to Remembrance Day.”

    Open and blatant hypocrisy. The BBC cannot say one thing and immediately say the opposite in the following paragraph. Are these people imbeciles?

  8. The poppy symbolises millions dead from conflict. The red ribbon symbolises millions dead from AIDS… Forgive me if I don’t see the need to remember one group of people and not another.

    This is just another example of the BBC being (small-c) conservative and not wanting to change the status-quo.

  9. So, wait, you think the BBC is “liberal” and “leftie”? Ha!

    That will be why they don’t report on revolutions and protests unless it goes in the governments favor, or why every story about the NSA/GCHQ is ignored, unless it’s calling for Snowden to be hunted down, or publicizing an excuse for their actions. That will be why they called Occupy “anarchists” in every broadcast. Or how about the blatant feeding of nationalist propaganda with some of their hastily cobbled together “game shows” in the wake of the EDL resurgence?

    What BBC are you watching? The one I watch is a propaganda machine, government puppet and thoroughly biased corporation.

  10. When you look at the charter obligations wearing a Ribbon seems to fit with most of the aims. The Red Ribbon is not a “charitable” symbol. Rather it is a symbol of universal suffrage for those affected by HIV/AIDS. Therefore there reasoning for the poppy would equally apply.

  11. This is definitely one of those moments the BBC could learn from a Crown corporation in “the colonies”. Every season has its “symbol”. There’s the red ribbon for HIV/AIDS, the pink one for breast cancer, growing facial hair for prostate cancer, the poppy for remembrance day, etc… And at the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), presenters are free to, and almost unanimously, participate in the right to wear these symbols on air.

    The BBC’s approach to this issue is nothing short of disgusting and shameful. They should be reprimanded by the government and threatened with financial sanctions. After all, they should answer to the population of the UK, as represented by the duly elected government.

  12. All symbols should be banned or none. So ban the poppy too then.

    What makes the BBC look bad, is their less than favourable history with the gay community and the resulting failure to ever make Stonewalls list of gay friendly employers.

  13. Midnighter 13 Dec 2013, 2:05pm

    You won’t change your rules? Why not?

    The BBC ought to do what it’s owner – the British Public – tells it to do.

    This will be an interesting test of just how true that principle is in practice; at the moment it seems we’re getting an autocratic “jobsworth” brush off in response to concerns.

  14. But it’s not a charity – it’s a cause. Unlike the British Legion, Children in Need etc etc.

  15. Rebecca Shaw 13 Dec 2013, 3:10pm

    Since 4 April 2011 the BBC has been listed as a public authority in Schedule 19 to the Equality Act 2010. It is therefore required by law to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity, eliminate discrimination and foster good relations between those who share particular ‘protectected characteristics’ and those who do not. The intransigent position which the BBC has adopted indicates that the BBC has somehow forgotten this!

  16. If there was a blanket ban on all symbols I’d perhaps be more understanding, but when an exception is made for the poppy (which I have no problem with) the BBC should give a clearer explanation for that bending of the rules, and why the same cannot apply to AIDS ribbons.

    I appreciate the BBC doesn’t want every presenter promoting their own cause, that would open a can of worms, but it’s obvious that many people feel strongly that the BBC should show support for this vital campaign, and the fact they haven’t even considered it is deeply regrettable.

    1. Patrick Lyster-Todd 13 Dec 2013, 5:56pm

      Actually, I’m not so sure that allowing presenters to wear a bona fide emblem or ribbon related to something important to them, once or twice a year etc, would be opening a can of worms. Ie, say a presenter’s mother had died from breast cancer, then they shouldn’t be stopped from periodically wearing a pink ribbon if s/he so wishes. They’re hardly promoting a cause by doing so but showing solidarity and compassion. Plus show me, anyway, one person who wouldn’t support the cause of breast cancer.

      I’m ex-military, so I fervently support the wearing of the poppy but, equally, I fervently support the right of people not to wear one if that’s their thing (though I won’t think much of them but that’s just me). The BBC really is outdated in its thinking: completely unaware of just how darned stupid and out of touch with its fee-paying audience it is when they make such judgements.

  17. Daniel Donaldson 13 Dec 2013, 4:13pm

    Why is the Poppy allowed and the Red Ribbon disallowed?

  18. Andrew Brettell 13 Dec 2013, 4:31pm

    Blatant advertising goes on, including/ on the Graham Norton Show. Advertising books, reocords, CDs is OK, but not important and worthwhile causes. Cut its funding.

  19. Darren Yehuda 13 Dec 2013, 4:48pm

    Why not have Graham dress inred from head to toe at HIV awareness time. BBC certainly cannot pick out his clothes for him can they?
    Or at least he can have a red handkerchief and very intently bring it out to wipe his head or nose.

  20. I have been a card carrying leftie all my life and cannot understand the left’s love affair with the BBC. It is NOT impartial; it continually pushes an establishment line as Bloke Toys pointed out. Protests, including strikes, are bad, Britain is the “special friend of America”, the Royal Family is wonderful…. When Parliament voted against war in Syria, BBC correspondents were falling over themselves to promulgate rubbish like that decision would destroy the “special relationship” and lower Britain’s standing in the world.

    Stonewall has issued a series of critical reports about the BBC’s lack of reference of homosexuality and its negative portrayals when it does. BBC Managers are only concerned about preserving the licence fee and the BBC has publically stated that it must be mindful of the 20% of its audience uncomfortable with ANY depiction of homosexuality. That probably explains why the BBC’s coverage of homosexuality is miles behind the commercial channels.

  21. No more Poppies then because they are copyright to the Royal British Legion? Since when was the British Legion a special case?

  22. Patrick Lyster-Todd 13 Dec 2013, 5:42pm

    What absolute rubbish. I do hope you do not consider yourself a gay man: if you do, then hang your head in shame. The Red Ribbon is neither a campaign nor a charity per se. Presenters should be free to wear whatever emblems or ribbons et al they wish to associate with – or not wear them, in the case of the poppy (in which case people can make their own judgement on that accordingly).

  23. On the One Show tonight they are all wearing Christmas Jumpers for an individual charity – how can they get way with that and Graham can’t?

  24. Two ways that the BBC employees could take a stance against this ridiculous position would be to either refuse to wear poppies next year or, if the ban is not lifted, wear red ribbons on World Aids Day en-masse. It is completely unacceptable for the BBC to have these double standards.

  25. I am EXTREMELY disappointed in the BBC.

  26. Xavier, NZ 13 Dec 2013, 9:04pm

    Typical draconian old ‘Aunty Beeb’ and patronising to the end. As they say elsewhere around the world, ‘Get with the program’… or ‘yeah right’ as in this case. Yet again British Colonialism raises its head, ‘rules’, and projecting the wrong image/message. Try getting some freedom and democracy going Aunty it is listed in most dictionaries.

  27. Ultimately I get why poppies are ok but the same rule they are using to say that ribbons can not be worn should mean that they should not be involved or promoting for children in need

  28. Any way to get this person off the payroll of the govt, which gets tax money from gay people also?

  29. Marian Williams 14 Dec 2013, 11:28am

    Randall replied I’m blown away that a student can get paid $4475 in one month on the internet. visit the site>>> F­B­3­­9.C­O­M

  30. Can you please name the Tory MPs that you consider to be homophobic scum? (Should be at least 152 people according to your claim that over 50% of them are homophobic scum.)


  31. Imagine the BBC telling it’s employees not to wear Poppies. You can imagine the daily mail headlines now and imagine the outrage it would cause. The BBC would have no choice but to back down.

  32. A few things make me really angry at this story.

    Firstly, that the BBC seems to be saying that they have made up their minds and are unwilling to engage in any debate about this issue. This coming from our publicly funded national broadcaster.

    Secondly, isn’t part of wearing a red ribbon remembering everybody who we have lost to this virus. To me that isn’t making a charitable statement, but each person who wears a ribbon says that I stand alongside all of those who are or have been affected and infected by HIV. Is’t that just a statement of compassion, in just the same way that people wear a poppy for those killed by war. I don’t see the difference.

    But more than anything, I am angry as this is a side issue, to what has become the way that the BBC has marginalised the reporting stories around HIV/ AIDS, not just as UK issue, but as the global epidemic it is. The BBC’s coverage of these issues is truly woeful.

  33. Frank Boulton 15 Dec 2013, 10:46am

    A BBC spokesman told “The BBC recognises that viewers feel strongly about a wide range of campaigns but, to ensure impartiality, cannot favour one charity or cause over another by allowing the wearing of charitable or campaigning insignia by on screen talent.” Is he saying that Jeremy Clarkson, Jo Brand, Colin Farrell and Sharon Osbourne don’t have talent? This is plain discrimination in the workplace. If guests can wear these insignia then the presenters should be able to wear them, too.

  34. I bet they (the BBC) are ok about taking the licence fee from people with HIV/Aids, though. Hypocrites! Everyone should refuse to pay it IMO. I don’t have a TV at home so don’t pay it and haven’t done for about three years now.

    Well done Graham Norton for wearing the ribbon.

  35. Dr. Michael P. Burns 19 Dec 2013, 7:24am

    Equality for all. The BBC must also ban the wearing of the Poppy on Poppy day.

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