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Why can BBC presenters promote Comic Relief but not World AIDS Day?

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  1. Stupid
    The red ribbon is linked to AIDS so it should be ok

  2. Robert (Kettering) 13 Dec 2013, 8:10pm

    It’s called homophobia and bigotry, the BBC should hang its head in shame. A vile and revolting institution that needs a good shake up from top to bottom!

  3. The BBC is just a club for a select few to spend our money for nice lunches and travel and is very political.. I for one would like to see there funding stopped an for them to go commercial ..

  4. Robert in S. Kensington 13 Dec 2013, 8:29pm

    Homophobia! They don’t want to offend the sensibilities of the right wing and religious nutters who find HIV/AIDS icky and associated only with those equally icky gay people who believe AIDS is a gay disease.

    If it’s not homophobic, just look at the biased coverage of the equal marriage debate. Unfettered, unbalanced programming favouring the opposition and extremely short shrift to any supporters. It was so bad even Whitehall complained and yet it has the gall to maintain impartiality.

    1. The BBC News site is currently asking readers to complete a survey where “trust” is questioned and feedback is possible. I suggest everyone visit it, complete the survey and tell the BBC just how biased we think their news is.

      I have already done it and blatantly said that I do not trust the views of the BBC and that several stories are completely ignored, and wider views are rarely represented.

  5. PN your logic is unassailable. Keep pressing the BBC on this

  6. Midnighter 13 Dec 2013, 8:38pm

    Pointing to “long standing convention” is a silly argument. “Habit” , “tradition”, “convention” are not reasons in themselves, they are simply what occurs when people don’t – or aren’t permitted to – question the reasons behind something.

    I want to ask the BBC – given that they are owned by the British public – why they are so dismissive of the suggestion that it is time the rules were reviewed?

  7. The BBC is a TV network run by old bigots. That is why.

    1. If only it were just bigots.

      Yewtree shows it’s quite another sort of undesirable that runs it.

  8. They let their people wear Pudsey Bear stuff during Children in Need week too. Basically, it’s a case of double standards.

  9. Guy Lambert 13 Dec 2013, 9:17pm

    Maybe those accusing the BBC of homophobia haven’t seen Wizards v Aliens this week?

    1. I saw it. Check out what I say in my blog –

    2. One swallow doesn’t make a summer.

    3. One example from a writer who has a history of creating good quality narratives with LGBT characters does not mean anything when compared to the ongoing and obvious propaganda, the complete ignorance of several important stories (NSA/GCHQ) and their recent nationalistic content praising “England” in such an obvious way it would make Nick Griffin blush.

      Are you suggesting that a ten minute “outing” on a TV show negates years of bigotry and homophobia from a corporation that is paid for by every TV owning citizen in this country?

      No chance.

  10. Keep at ’em PN!! x

  11. David Jordan 13 Dec 2013, 10:46pm

    So in the interest of being fair they don’t let you wear any symbols for charities, with the exception of their own (which was involved in some dodgy dealing as I recall) and the red poppy (but I’d doubt they’d let you wear a white poppy one along side it).

  12. Below is the reply I got from my COMPLAINT to the BBC about how they had treated Graham Norton I raised the point about red ribons are not associated with a charity but are about HIV & AID’s awareness they are international supported by UN World Health Organisation they are about EDUCATION and a Virus which is killing millions world wide, It is also about rememberance and this is where it becomes personal I have had a couple of dear friends from secondary school days who died from AIDS related illness. Recent promotion about Breast cancer awareness on the BBC, pink ribbons (which I support by the way) are similar as they also do not advertise a particular charity but a health campaign!
    And the Poppy issue which only two chatities are in reciept of any giving, one in Scotland, one in England! Promotion??

    See how well the BBC answered my points below; I intend to pursue it further, so any suggestions would be welcome, although I have a few of my own.

    1. Dear Audience Member

      Many thanks for getting in touch following ‘The Graham Norton Show’ broadcast on 29 November 2013. We’re sorry to learn that you had concerns about the BBC’s policy on wearing charity emblems such as World AIDS Day ribbons and we would like to explain the background to this issue.

      We recognise that viewers feel strongly about a wide range of campaigns but the BBC aims to be fair to all charities and good causes, however we cannot actively campaign or promote awareness-raising initiatives. To ensure impartiality the BBC cannot favour one charity or cause over another by allowing the wearing of charitable or campaigning insignia by on-screen talent.


      1. We don’t wish to favour any one individual charity over any other so the BBC’s own charitable appeal and partnerships give grants to a wide range of different charities working at home and abroad. The charity appeals which the BBC supports in this way though on-air and off-air events – for example BBC Children in Need, Comic Relief and Sport Relief, the Disasters Emergency Committee – feature and support a wide range of charitable organisations which are chosen by a fair selection process.

        Many people have mentioned the annual Poppy Appeal, and of course the red poppy is worn as a universally-recognised symbol of national remembrance for those killed or injured serving their country in conflict. In particular, the poppy commemorates those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of their country in two world wars, and 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 …………cont

        1. …. to in the run up to Remembrance Day.

          Thank you again for getting in touch and please be assured that your views have been formally registered on our daily audience logs which are made available to all staff across the BBC, and which are seen as important documents that help guide us. Whilst we of course appreciate that you may feel that the BBC should allow any charitable emblems to be displayed on-screen, we hope our reply here clarifies our approach by explaining our reasoning and demonstrates that we aim for fairness and consistency in this area.

          Kind Regards

          BBC Complaints

          In case there was gay bias I also pointed out that world wide HIV & AIDS is a hetrosexual disease viruses donot discriminate by sexual orientation and looking through my local health authority data for last year 2011-12 the number of infections were predominantly from hetrosexual contact i.e. the majority of newly detected HIV was from straight sex- not gay!!

          How did the BBC do in answering my points ?

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 14 Dec 2013, 12:05am

      Typical bloody BBC! The British Legion is a frigging CHARITY and poppies are a remembrance of those who died in WW1 and it has the gall to say it is impartial? Disgusting.

  13. BBC director general, Tony Hall tells licence payers “I think we should own up to things we don’t get right” –

    1. Ha ha ha Yeah right ?

  14. Actually this is not an issue that should be raised with the BBC, the actual problem comes from the culture instated by the government, they the reason that they cannot do certain things like promote world AIDS day, or advertise anything that is not a BBC show.

    1. Benjamin Cohen 14 Dec 2013, 1:16am

      Not true. On Friday, it promoted a non-BBC book and two non-BBC films

    2. The One Show, Graham Norton, BBC Breakfast et al are all about the latest Hollywood blockbuster, the latest novel, the new albums, the new gallery etc, We pay for those firms and individuals to receive top prime time billing and exposure for their products…… So I dont know which BBC shows youre watching, but they constantly promote themselves AND commercial interests

  15. Robert in St Bees 14 Dec 2013, 10:14am

    The BBC is in a no-win situation here- it supports and promotes several charities on-air (some even setup by the BBC!) whilst trying to maintain “impartiality”. All of these charities do “good works” but which -if any- should be shown (i.e. advertised/promoted) on-air? Difficult question.

    When considering BBC staff wearing symbols on air, “impartiality” also seems to be the watchword. David Jordon (BBC ethics supremo) this year suggested wearing red poppies should be allowed from the 28th October to 13 November to commemorate Remembrance day in Great Britain. He said it was a personal choice (in GB) but added that not wearing a poppy could be seen as an expression of the presenters own opinions (and thus I assume not impartial). It now seems wearing a red ribbon to support World AIDS day is also not impartial. I assume until 51% of the UK population and 100% of politicians wear the ribbon the BBC will not change its policy.

    1. Mihangel apYrs 14 Dec 2013, 10:55am

      I wonder if he’s ever debated “how many angels can dance on the head of a needle?”

      Such sophistry is insulting (you opt not to wear a poppy, but that could be seen as an opinion)

    2. I don’t think it’s a difficult situation at all!
      The BBC has a long tradition of broadcasting for charity, and there has seemingly never been a problem with their on-screen talent wearing charitable symbols in the past relating to all kinds of charities. Why should this be any different now?

      It’s not like Graham was preaching about world Aids day, or doing anything that would ever put the BBC in a bad light. I dare say that 90% of the British population didn’t even think there could possibly be a problem with him wearing it!

      I don’t understand this “impartiality” nonsense. There is no charity or organization supporting the SPREAD of HIV/Aids, there is no “side” to take here. Everyone is against the spread of a devastating disease, so what exactly is the BBC worried about?

      I wonder if they would have the same view of the pink ribbon for Breast Cancer awareness?

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

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  17. It’s good to see PN thoroughly pursuing this like journalists. It’s been disappointing in the past that PN never seemed to even attempt to get a statement from those involved in a story, so seeing this development is a very good sign.

    I don’t think there will be a response from the BBC though, because they clearly don’t have an answer. Someone high-up in the organization makes a decision based on their own view, and their stated “standards” are selectively ignored.

    They have already exposed this hypocrisy in one statement, first explaining why the wearing of Poppies is supported (and some would say actively encouraged) and then reversing that statement by saying no charitable symbols are permitted.

    Unless the person responding in that way has some kind of incredibly severe short-term memory issue where they forget the words that just left their mouth, it makes absolutely no sense as an explanation.

    They won’t respond, because they can’t respond without looking like complete idiots.

  18. Don’t give up on this story. I am really pleased that PinkNews and the public are pursing. Well done.

  19. Don’t really know much about the BBC as an organization, but from this flap and other stories, I get the feeling that refusing to allow presenters to wear red ribbons to mark World AIDS Day is in line with its general attitude: homophobia, extended to anything that might even remotely be connected to LGBTs.

  20. Barry William Teske 15 Dec 2013, 5:29am


    I am now uninstalling the BBC app the way your policy uninstalls compassion, hope and humanity.

    HIV/AIDS affects everybody.
    One of the world’s preeminent media broadcasters and the ball gets dropped for how long now?
    Grow up.

    Barry William Teske

  21. Marian Williams 15 Dec 2013, 5:32am


  22. GingerlyColors 15 Dec 2013, 7:32am

    Will the BBC ban it’s presenters from wearing poppies next November because it is a charitable symbol? And will the BBC ban it’s presenters from growing moustaches for Movember? And will this ban also include charity wristbands?

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