Multiple brands have pulled advertising from GB News, the upstart channel promising to take on so-called cancel culture.
Ikea, cider firm Kopparberg and Octopus Energy have withdrawn their adverts on the network following its launch on Sunday.
GB News, positioned as a rival to the news and current affairs offerings of the likes of BBC and Sky, is fronted by veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil.
He said the channel would not be “another echo chamber for the metropolitan mindset that already dominates so much of the media”.
However, GB News has faced accusations it will be broadcasting US-style partisan news shows in the UK and campaign group Stop Funding Hate challenged advertisers on social media.
“Not knowingly” advertised
Swedish furniture giant Ikea said it had “not knowingly” advertised on GB News.
Companies to pull out of GB News so far:— Jack Dart (@JackWDart) June 15, 2021
✅ Open University
Companies are pulling out because the channel is showing itself to be as controversial and biased as had been anticipated.
Follow @we_make_ripples for regular updates on this!
It added: “We are in the process of investigating how this may have occurred to ensure it won’t happen again in future, and have suspended paid display advertising in the meantime.”
In its statement, Kopparberg also said it was unaware its adverts were running on the channel and said they had been suspended “pending further review of its content”.
Octopus said it would only advertise with GB News if it proved to be “genuinely balanced”.
The Open University also paused its advertising.
As promised…— Greg Jackson (@g__j) June 15, 2021
This is the letter I've sent to customers who emailed.
Summary: Ad slots were not planned by us. We'll monitor any new channels (including this) before running ads and will only advertise if balanced and meets our policies. pic.twitter.com/YInlVubN52
Neil, responding to Ikea, shared a story about the company’s French arm being fined £1 million and its CEO handed a two-year suspended sentence after it spied on employees for three years.
Neil wrote: “IKEA has decided to boycott GB News because of our alleged values. Here are IKEA’s values — a French CEO who is a criminal with a two year suspended jail sentence for spying on staff.”
Piers Morgan, who has been linked to GB News following his departure from Good Morning Britain, also responded to Ikea and said: “Oh shut up, you pathetic virtue-signalling twerps. I’m now boycotting IKEA.”
Oh shut up, you pathetic virtue-signalling twerps.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) June 15, 2021
I’m now boycotting IKEA. https://t.co/8hRc1cPIPi
GB News captured a host of high-profile signings, including former Sky Sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher, ex-BBC presenter Simon McCoy and former ITV presenter Alastair Stewart.
In his opening monologue, former BBC political interviewer Neil said the channel will “puncture the pomposity of our elites in politics, business, media and academia and expose the growing promotion of cancel culture for the threat to free speech and democracy that it is”.
GB News will broadcast seven days a week across the UK and Ireland.
Yesterday it was announced that Rishi Sunak will be the first major political guest to appear on the news channel.
The live interview, set for 8pm on Wednesday, comes after home secretary Priti Patel told GB News that fans booing England players for taking the knee had a right to take exception to “gesture politics”.
Looking forward to it 👍 https://t.co/VhnkB2H7hs— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) June 15, 2021