If you’re founding a self-described “anti-woke” news network specifically designed to irritate the snowflake left, it would probably be best to let it slide if your complexion is compared to that of a steaming hot ham.
But that’s not Andrew Neil’s style.
Neil—the Murdoch empire veteran behind the upcoming British network GB News—has declared that calling him a “gammon” is racist, and anyone who does so will be instantly blocked from his erratic Twitter feed.
The incident began with a simple one-word tweet from 70-year-old retiree William Annett: “Gammon.” The comment doesn’t even appear to have been directed at Neil, but he was copied in and didn’t like it. He quote-tweeted the pork-based jibe and wrote: “Racist. So blocked.”
But that was far from the end of the outburst. After people suggested to Neil that “gammon” is neither a race nor a racial slur, but a type of salted and grilled meat often served with pineapple, the newsman wrote, “I have chosen to take his use of gammon as an attack on my race, as the law now allows me to do. It’s a hate crime. So he’s a racist.”
Neil then went on to simultaneously claim that he was doing a joke, while also approvingly quote-tweeting people who said genuinely offensive things such as, “Gammon is as racist as calling a Black person ‘chocolate.’”
The Daily Beast asked Annett, whose tweet triggered Neil, how he felt about being called racist by one of Britain’s most well-known journalists.
“The remark was intended for another person on the thread,” he said. “Neil apparently took it as a personal insult, with the ludicrous claim that the word, ‘gammon,’ is a racist term. Considering the numerous insults he's received over the years, I think his reaction says a lot about his political views and his pompous attitude towards criticism.”
“Gammon” has unexpectedly become a frequently used descriptor in some British political circles in recent years. It describes someone, usually a middle-aged white man, who is so unjustifiably angry at the rest of the world that their face turns a porky pink when loudly expressing their furious opinions. If Neil’s own description of his new network is anything to go by, that would appear to be the key demographic target for GB News.
Neil has previously said his network will fight back against “woke warriors,” and cover news from the “center right,” sparking speculation that it will become a strange little English cousin of Fox News.
As well as being the chairman of GB News, Neil will also reportedly host a “wokewatch” segment on his soon-to-go-live network.