The BBC has defended its decision to include clips of Graham Norton wearing a red ribbon on the presenter’s 2013 compilation show – even though he was previously reprimanded by the corporation for doing so.
Norton ignored instructions not to wear the ribbon on his programme on 29 November to highlight last year’s World AIDS Day on 1 December.
All four guests on his show, fellow BBC Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, Jo Brand, Colin Farrell and Sharon Osbourne – were allowed to wear the ribbons.
Last Friday, clips of Norton wearing the ribbon from his November show were included in a special 2013 compilation broadcast.
PinkNews asked the BBC why were the clips broadcast given its repeated claims that Norton broke its guidelines by highlighting World AIDS Day.
In response, a BBC spokesperson told PinkNews.co.uk: “A number of clips from the show throughout the series, deemed to be highlights, were broadcast in a ‘best of’ programme last week.”
The BBC previously sought to justify its decision to reprimand Norton by pointing to guideline 4.4.20, which states that the BBC “must remain independent and distanced from government initiatives, campaigners, charities and their agendas”.
However, PinkNews reported several cases of the corporation allowing its presenters to promote charitable campaigns – apparently in breach of 4.4.20.
PinkNews asked the BBC if re-broadcasting images of Norton wearing the red ribbon amounted to a fresh breach of its guidelines – the corporation refused to comment.
The BBC has continuously refused to answer questions put to it by PinkNews on why Graham Norton’s support for World AIDS Day differs from other cases of presenters promoting singular causes such as Save the Children’s ‘National Christmas Jumper Day’ and ‘Movember’.
The BBC has refused to accept that the ribbon is an internationally recognised symbol which belongs to no singular charity or organisation.
On 18 December, Lisa Power, policy director of Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), Britain’s largest sexual health and HIV charity, told PinkNews.co.uk: “The red ribbon doesn’t benefit any singular charity. I can promise you that it’s easier to find a red ribbon to wear without paying money than a poppy. The BBC needs to work out that they have lost this argument and allow its staff to wear red ribbons if they chose to do so.”
On the same day, the Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, Michael Fabricant, tabled a parliamentary question for Culture Secretary Maria Miller over the BBC’s “extraordinary” decision to discipline the presenter.