Many major organizations are turning away from the Black Lives Matter organization as evidence mounts that its been 'hijacked' by radical causes.
The BBC instructed its staff and guests not to wear Black Lives Matter badges because expressions of support for the political organization would undermine BBC impartiality. A BBC source told The Telegraph that “The BBC cannot be seen to support any kind of cause over another, and Black Lives Matter is certainly a campaign.”
Organizations such as the Premiere League’s Tottenham Hotspur football club have also moved to distance itself from BLM. Donna-Maria Cullen, executive director, stated that the club’s chairman, Daniel Levy, was “disappointed” by BLM’s tweets opposing Israel. This was revealed in a letter to a fan, in which Cullen also wrote that “It is unacceptable that a value-based action is being hijacked by those with their own political agenda.”
This came after BLM UK’s tweets of “FREE PALESTINE” sentiments.
These prompted pushback from former professional football player Karl Henry, who called the movement “just a front for a self-serving far left political organization.”
The Telegraph, however, ran a story saying that the “BBC rules that staff should not wear Black Lives Matter badges on air.” Sky Sports pundits had all worn badges in support of BLM prior to this.
Corporate leadership at the BBC opposed “visual symbols of support” on screen, according to sources at The Telegraph. The reason has less to do with the sentiment behind the words themselves, and more to do with not advocating for a political organization, which is what BLM has now become.
Black Lives Matter is a campaign of a political nature, which suggests policy to voters and legislators, the broadcaster will not give the appearance of support.
“Our presenters and guests can discuss Black Lives Matter, and we’ve reported on it in depth. We’re not impartial about racism,” the source at the BBC said. “But wearing badges on screen—just as with any other campaign—would be a step too far.”
Other broadcasters in the UK have offered visible support of Black Lives Matter. Sky Sports has displayed BLM hashtags between programmes and encouraged presenters to sport badges.
England’s Premier Football League has every player wearing the BLM slogan on their sleeve and kneeling before kick off.
Sky Sports tweeted out the imagery on the field: "A powerful image to show football's social conscience."
BLM UK has come out with endorsements of specific policy measures, saying “When we say 'Defund the police' we mean 'Invest in programmes that actually keep us safe like youth services, mental health and social care, education, jobs and housing. Key services to support the most vulnerable before they come into contact with the criminal justice system.'”
This display of overt political advocacy prompted Sky Sports pundit Matt Le Tissier who claimed to the Daily Mail that he only wore the BLM badge because of his bosses’ requests.
Le Tissier said he will continue to wear the badge on TV but is against BLM’s calls to dismantle capitalism and defund police, condemning that as a “far-left ideology.”
Sky Sports clarified their message in an official press release, defending Premier League’s actions and reinforcing their ties to BLM: “Our support is for the moral cause and campaign, that Black Lives Matter, rather than for any political organization.”
The statement from Sky Sports hints that the presenters had the freedom of choice to wear messages of political affiliation.