Revealed: The hard left Corbynista zealots campaigning to cancel GB News include vegan professional cat-sitter, a gender and sexuality studies teacher and an ex-BBC executive
- Stop Funding Hate insists it ‘not linked to, or aligned to, any political party’
- But its leadership appear to be left-wing pro-Labour and pro Jeremy Corbyn
- SFH founded by remainer Richard Wilson and his cat-sitter friend Rosey Ellum
- Remainder of board made up of a ‘ethical’ investment manager and an academic
- BBC journalist’s PR firm accused of helping set up boycott GB News webiste
The campaign to sink GB News is spearheaded by an anti-press group led by a Corbynista, a former professional cat-sitter, an ‘ethical’ investments manager and a teacher of gender and sexuality studies, MailOnline can reveal.
Stop Funding Hate insists it is ‘not linked to, or aligned to, any political party’ — and claims to ‘have supporters from a wide range of backgrounds and political viewpoints’.
But its campaigns only tend to be against newspapers which endorsed the Tories and now it has its sights on GB News, the new anti-woke news channel launched on Sunday, with free speech campaigners branding it ‘sinister’.
A website BoycottGBNews.org has also been set up with the help of former BBC executive Louise Wikstrom, who told MailOnline today she is ‘proud’ to be involved.
At the head of Stop Funding Hate is founder Richard Wilson, who supported both the Remain campaign and Jeremy Corbyn when he was Labour leader.
He has ‘liked’ or endorsed Facebook groups supporting the ‘Council of Europe’, ‘New Europeans’, ‘Better In than Out’, ‘I’m Voting Remain,’ ‘UKtoStay’, ‘Campaign to Remain’, ‘We are the 48’, ‘Environmentalists for Europe,’ ‘Scientists for EU’ and ‘Jeremy Corbyn for PM’.
Stop Funding Hate’s founder Richard Wilson, who supported both the Remain campaign and Jeremy Corbyn and once took cash from the Mail to serialise a book. His organisation has set its sights on sinking GB News
Rosey Ellum (pictured) an ‘experienced and loving’ cat sitter for four years who in 2016 came up with the idea of founding the organisation at a dinner party attended by Wilson
According to the Stop Funding Hate website, the third board member is Colin Baines, an investment manager, and Alexandra Parsons, an academic who teaches gender and sexuality studies and literature at University College London
He’s also ‘liked’ the misleadingly named Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, which supports the anti-newspaper lobbyists Hacked Off.
He has run a campaign against the Daily Mail, but has been more than happy to accept money from associating with the Mail in the past. In 2006, when a book he wrote about the murder of his sister in Africa was published, serialisation rights were sold to the Mail for £1,000.
Louise Wikstrom, Co-founder & Content Director at Ripples. The former BBC executive’s company is proud to have helped set up BoycottGBNews.org
A second senior Stop Funding Hate figure is Rosey Ellum, who, in 2016, came up with the idea of founding the organisation at a dinner party attended by Wilson.
A vegan in her thirties, an NGO worker and a professional cat-sitter, she divides her political allegiances between Labour and the Green Party.
Her Facebook ‘likes’ include ‘Women against UKIP’, ‘The struggling Vegan’. ‘Hackney Greens’, ‘Fat Gay Vegan’, ‘Sassy Socialist Memes’, ‘Womens Equality Party’ ‘John McDonnell’, ‘Tower Hamlets Green Party’ and ‘Jeremy Corbyn for PM’.
On the morning of the 2015 Conservative election victory, Ellum declared on Twitter: ‘So sad and depressed today. For selfish reasons and for people worse off than me. We’ll keep fighting the good fight!’ She’s also campaigned against what she calls Israel’s ‘illegal occupation of Palestine’, using Twitter to share petitions on behalf of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which counts Corbyn among its patrons.
According to the Stop Funding Hate website, the third board member is Colin Baines.
He is an Investment Engagement Manager at the Friends Provident Foundation and previously was an Ethics Adviser and Campaigns Manager at the Co-op Bank and Co-op Group.
The fourth and final board member is Alexandra Parsons, who has worked in the charity and voluntary sectors for 16 years.
She is also an academic specialising in researching cultural responses to the HIV/AIDS crisis, and teaches gender and sexuality studies and literature at University College London.
She currently manages the Public Engagement Fund at Wellcome Trust, and formerly worked for organisations including British Red Cross and Child Poverty Action Group.
A website BoycottGBNews.org has also been set up by a business called ‘Ripples Campaigning’, which according to Guido Fawkes is run by former BBC journalist by Louise Wikstrom. It sets out six steps it hopes will sink the channel and urges social media users to share it online
Left to right: Kirsty Gallacher, Andrew Doyle, Neil Oliver, Darren McCaffrey, Alex Phillips, Rebecca Hutson, Simon McCoy, Nana Akua, Liam Halligan, Gloria Del Piero, Dan Wootton, Andrew Neil, Michelle Dewberry, Mercy Muroki, Tom Harwood, Colin Brazier, Inaya Folarin Iman, Alastair Stewart
SFH insist its campaign is ‘all about polite and friendly customer engagement’ and, to be fair, the social media messages sent on its behalf to big businesses are usually reasonable in tone urging them to become what they call ‘ethical advertisers’.
But many of those who are targeting businesses have used the internet on other occasions to troll politicians, journalists, celebrities and other public figures — while also spreading vile slurs about political groups they despise.
Commonly social media users will approach companies and send repeated messages to them saying they will cancel or boycott them unless they distance themselves from media businesses they don’t like.
All the big businesses that have pulled GB News ads – IKEA Nivea, Kopparberg, Grolsch, the Open University, Octopus Energy, Ovo Energy and insurer LV – have been targeted in this way.
A website BoycottGBNews.org has also been set up with the help of a business called ‘Ripples Campaigning’, which according to Guido Fawkes is run by former BBC executive by Louise Wikstrom whose social media posts have previously backed Labour and Jeremy Corbyn.
The website sets out six ways Britons can boycott and sink GB News, which promises it will not be ‘yet another echo chamber for the metropolitan mindset’.
In the ‘about’ section it describes itself as a ‘campaigning website from Ripples’.
Guido reports that on Companies House Ripples Campaigning is ‘co-founded, and is run, by Louise Wikstrom’.
She worked as a senior content producer for BBC Worldwide for three years until 2015, according to her LinkedIn account.
In a statement she told MailOnline: ‘Ripples is proud to take a stand against biased news through this campaign, together with thousands of supporters who have written to GB News’ advertisers to make their voices heard’.
GB News chief Andrew Neil today hit back at IKEA and its ‘criminal’ former French boss Jean-Louis Baillot (right) as the firm pulled its adverts from the new TV channel
Nivea, Kopparberg, Grolsch, the Open University, Octopus Energy, Ovo Energy and insurer LV
IKEA, Nivea, Kopparberg, Grolsch, the Open University, Octopus Energy, Ovo Energy and insurer LV have also pulled their adverts from Andrew Neil’s new channel
Kopparberg sparked a backlash after suspending its advertisements from the newly-launched GB News channel
MPs, free speech campaigners and business leaders today turned on ‘anti-democratic’ IKEA and other ‘hypocritical’ big businesses cancelling advertising on GB News after bowing to ‘bullying’ from ‘sinister’ left-wing pressure groups.
Nivea, Kopparberg, Grolsch, the Open University, Octopus Energy, Ovo Energy and insurer LV have also pulled their adverts from Andrew Neil’s new channel, prompting calls for a boycott of their services for caving in to ‘zealots’.
GB News launched on Sunday promising to be anti-woke, pro-British and cover stories differently to rivals, with prime time shows already enjoying more viewers than BBC News and Sky News. But after just four days on air at least seven big businesses have pulled their adverts after a social media campaign whipped up by Stop Funding Hate.
Tory MP Craig Mackinlay branded the boycott of GB News as ‘unbelievable’ and ‘mad’, pledging to fight back against those businesses. He told MailOnline: ‘I am now putting together a list of beers and household products that I will not be buying. This is all part of the closing down of free speech campaign which I am afraid we are seeing across our society. It must be resisted. It is an absolute abomination’.
He added: ‘Corporates should do what they do – sell things rather than get involved with political debates.’
Fellow Conservative backbencher Andrew Bridgen said: ‘This epitomises exactly what GB News was set up to counter. The hard woke left wingers are seeking to cancel voices saying things they don’t approve of. Advertisers should do well to look at the viewing figures and remember that those who complain most on social media do not represent the mainstream view’.
Tory MP Andrew Percy said: ‘It’s completely anti-democratic and an attempt to silence alternative views. The UK has strict media rules which GB News is abiding by. If it’s good enough for the UK regulators, it should be good enough for the advertisers. These advertisers are essentially giving in to bullying by the mob.’
Dragons Den star Duncan Bannatyne told MailOnline he was ‘shocked’ at the hasty decision made by big businesses to pull adverts from GB News – just four days after a very successful launch.
The tycoon said that he would consider advertising his Bannatyne’s health clubs and gyms on the news channel because of its ‘great viewing figures’. Slamming the cancel culture he said: ‘I am just shocked that such big organisations would cancel on a new untested TV news show. Competition is good for all businesses and TV shows need competition, so should be supported’. He added: ‘I will never shop at IKEA again – oh just a minute, I never did shop there anyway’.
Trade unionist and journalist Paul Embery tweeted: ‘Stop Funding Hate is a sinister group whose ultimate aim is to prevent the dissemination of opinions with which they disagree. Don’t let anyone pretend otherwise’.
GB News chairman Andrew Neil has also hit back at IKEA and its ‘criminal’ former French boss Jean-Louis Baillot. He said: ‘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’.
‘Brilliant, refreshing and much needed’: Viewers praise opening moments as GB News takes to the air
GB News viewers have taken to social media to praise the launch of the ‘straight-talking’ TV channel as it becomes the first new broadcaster to hit the UK’s airwaves in 24 years.
The right-leaning channel, which aims to cater to a broad audience including those under-represented in the 2016 Brexit debate, was a hit with viewers as it began tonight with an introduction to the GB News team by presenter Andrew Neil.
Neil began the show by calling ‘cancel culture’ a ‘threat to democracy’, telling viewers: ‘GB news will not be yet another echo chamber for the metropolitan mindset that dominates much of the media’.
Viewers took to social media to praise the ‘refreshing’ and ‘much needed’ addition to British television, which is the first new channel to launch since BBC News 24 in 1997.
Siân Davidson wrote: ‘Great to have a news channel where different views are shared rather than one viewpoint and Andrew Neil launching it #GBNews.’
Jonathan wrote: ‘ @GBNEWS Well done Andrew Neil – a brilliant, refreshing and much needed introduction to our new news station!’
Aaron Healey wrote: ‘#GBNews lovely to see all the triggered woke brigade aghast at having a channel not bowing to their woke b********.’
Jim Crozier wrote: ‘Just tuned into @GBNEWS and loving how Andrew Neil is already giving it both barrels! I don’t think I’ve ever been excited to watch the news.’
As the channel cut to its first advertisement break some Twitter users questioned whether the advertisers will face retaliation.
Martin Daubney wrote: ‘First ever @GBNEWS advertiser that the morons will want to cancel is… Kelloggs!’
Viewers rushed to social media to praise the ‘refreshing’ and ‘much needed’ addition to British television, which is the first to launch since BBC News 24 in 1997
Another viewer added: ”… if it matters to you… it matters to us.. Hector has left the building..’ 5 minutes in, what an introduction by Andrew Neil!!! … … love it already, this is my news channel now !!!’
Neil’s show will contain a segment called ‘Woke Watch’, with a live segment featuring a Dan Wootton interview with Lord Alan Sugar later this evening.
Neil told London’s Evening Standard newspaper: ‘We are for people who think the existing channels don’t quite represent how they see things.’
John McAndrew, GB News’ director of news and programming, said: ‘Our presenters will have the freedom to say what they think, to have some fun and to be brave about the issues that really matter to the people of Britain.’
The station, which has a staff of 140 journalists based at newly acquired offices in west London, has attracted a string of high-profile UK broadcasters.
The channel, which is billed as ‘Britain’s news channel’ – with a logo featuring the red white and blue of the Union Jack – has been forced to fend off unfavourable comparisons to the firebrand and divisive populism of US network Fox News.
McAndrew told trade publication Press Gazette this week the channel will not be a ‘hate-filled divisive shout-fest’.
Prior to taking the role on at GB News Neil worked for 25 years at the BBC, edited the Sunday Times and founded Britain’s last successful TV start-up, Sky.
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