ITV News presenter defends her decision to not wear a poppy

ITV News London presenter Charlene White Photo: ITV London

A news presenter for one of Britain’s biggest TV stations has received a wave of racial abuse on social media for her decision not to wear a poppy on-air.

Throughout this week, ITV News London presenter Charlene White has been victim to an onslaught of racial abuse on Twitter and Facebook for her refusal to wear a poppy on live TV.

She explained live on-air in her own words why she chooses not to wear one when she is reading the news.

“In the last few days I’ve been subjected to a torrent of racist and sexist abuse as a result of me choosing not to wear a poppy on-screen, while presenting for ITV News.

It was a decision I made a number of years ago, but the backlash this year has been far bigger and more widespread than it has been in previous years…so I thought it best to write a longer explanation rather than in a series of tweets on Twitter. Or a short post on Facebook.

I support and am patron of a number of charities and I am uncomfortable with giving one of those charities more on-screen time than others.

I prefer to be neutral and impartial on-screen so that one of those charities doesn’t feel less favoured than another.

Off-screen in my private life – it’s different.

I wear a red ribbon at the start of December for World Aids Day, a pink ribbon in October during breast cancer awareness month, a badge in April during Bowel Cancer Awareness month, and yes – a poppy on Armistice Day.

I respect and hold in high esteem those in the armed forces, both my father and my uncle have served in the RAF and the Army.

Every year I donate to the Poppy Appeal because above all else it is a charity that needs donations, so that it can continue to help support serving and ex-service men and women and their families.

The messages of “go back to where you came from” have been interesting to read, as have the “fat s–g” comments, and the repeated use of the phrase “black c–t”.

Mostly because it flies in the face of everything that millions of British men and women and those in the Commonwealth have fought for for generations, and continue to fight for: the right to choose, and the right of freedom of speech and expression.”

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