Andrew Neil, former chairman of newly launched GB News, has revealed that working at the network was the “worst part of his career”.
Despite much fanfare about the right-leaning channel, that billed itself as a refreshing alternative to the BBC, Neil, 72, took an extended break from the network after just two weeks, before ultimately stepping away.
The Scottish journalist was allegedly so scarred by his time there he even broke down and wept while discussing it on the breakfast television show This Morning.
During an explosive tell-all interview Neil, who has edited some of the nation's largest media groups, revealed that among other things, working at GB News was “worse than being on a jihadi’s hit list”.
As a broadcaster and journalist of many years, Neil has inevitably ruffled some feathers over the years and told the Daily Mail that he has been on both IRA and jihadi hit lists and that being a GB News “felt worse”.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: “I’m angry that what should have been my last big media gig – which, if we’d made it work, could have been great – turned out to be the worst eight months of my career, the worst by far."
He added: "Don't forget, I’ve been on the IRA hit list twice. I’ve had special protection – anti-terrorist forces outside my house. I’ve been on the jihadists’ hit list. This feels worse."
Among Neil’s list of issues was his reputation being in the hands of staff he blasted as “amateurs”, various technical glitches and details of his exit agreement allegedly being leaked.
Daily Star has contacted GB News for comment.
He also claims that the technology problems were so bad that he could not concentrate on journalism – at one point he was broadcasting live looking like "Kim Jong Un in a bunker about to launch a nuclear attack on San Francisco."
Neil also said that the show was using “shock jocks” like Dan Wootton to spout deliberately controversial views in order to pull in viewers.
Wootton, former editor of The Sun’s Bizarre column, once triggered hundreds of Ofcom complaints after a particularly vocal anti-lockdown tirade on GB News.
Reacting to Andrew's claims, a statement from GB News said: "At no point did Andrew raise concerns of the editorial direction of GB News moving to the right.
"As with all companies, decision-making rests with the board, and GB News is no different.
"As a member of the board, Andrew had the same rights and abilities to raise concerns, and he was privy to all decisions."
Andrew Neil also refused to back some of the more questionable ideas that were put forward including secretly filming left-wing teachers in classrooms.
His response was: “That’s a really good idea but I think you should take charge of that yourself, and I promise you that after you get in hot water for breaking about five different laws – including filming minors – come back and talk to me.”
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