Gary Lineker sparks fresh second BBC impartiality row in 24 hours by rebuking Keir Starmer for saying Just Stop Oil are ‘arrogant’… the day after News star told of her ‘glee’ over Boris Johnson withdrawing from No10 race
- Gary Lineker shows his support for ‘terrified’ eco-zealots’ protesters in London
- His tweet comes after Just Stop Oil pair smear cake on waxwork of King Charles
- Eilidh McFadden and Tom Johnson carried out the attack at Madame Tussands
- The Met said they have been arrested for criminal damage alongside two others
- It’s the latest in a string of disruptive stunts by group in recent weeks in London
Gary Lineker has come to the defence of a gang of Just Stop Oil eco-zealots who smeared chocolate cake over the face of a waxwork of King Charles.
The Match of the Day host, 61, was speaking out after protesters from the eco mob launched an attack on the monarch’s model at Madame Tussauds in London.
It was the 26th stunt this month by the rabble of campaigners, who have caused mayhem and misery across the capital, with demonstrators blocking roads, attacking art installations, police HQ and even leading to the closure of the Dartford Bridge.
The latest assault at the world-renowned London art attraction saw two people from the group taking off their tops to reveal Just Stop Oil t-shirts as one of them shouts, ‘This is a time for action’ before they both smear King Charles’s waxwork with cake.
Social media users were quick to condemn the pair, Eilidh McFadden and Tom Johnson for their actions. But former England striker Lineker appeared to be supportive of their cause.
Just Stop Oil identified the pair as Eilidh McFadden, a 20-year-old from Glasgow and Tom Johnson, 29, a painter decorator from Sunderland
The Match of the Day host, 61, used Twitter to tweet about the latest protest by Just Stop Oil campaigners in London on Monday morning
Keir Starmer, pictured on LBC, called Just Stop Oil protesters arrogant, which prompted a response from Lineker
In his post on Twitter, the TV pundit, who has more than 8.6million followers on Twitter, added: ‘They’re not arrogant, they’re terrified for the future for them and their children.’
The former footballing ace was replying to comments made by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in which he told LBC the protesters were ‘arrogant’ and ‘wrong’ and said they ‘haven’t got the answer’ to the climate crisis.
‘I think it’s arrogant of those gluing themselves to the road to think they are the only people that have got the answer to this – they haven’t got the answer and I don’t know how they can look in the eye of the families who have got someone in the back of an ambulance,’ Sir Keir told LBC.
‘They certainly wouldn’t be able to look me in the eye if it was my mum – late mum now, sadly – who was in that ambulance.’
But Lineker’s stance has divided opinion online, with one user replying: ‘Gary, we’re all terrified. We all at some point in our lives believe something dreadful is going to happen. It does not excuse this behavior. There are far more better ways than that. Would you teach your children to behave like that if they don’t get listened too?’
While another said: ‘Blocking traffic, throwing soup at artwork… these will not generate support for their cause, it’ll just cause people to resent them.’
And a third added: ‘Oh shut up Gary. Stop defending the indefensible.’
Just Stop Oil identified the pair as Eilidh McFadden, a 20-year-old from Glasgow and Tom Johnson, 29, a painter decorator from Sunderland as those responsible for today’s attack at Madame Tussauds
They had bought tickets to the attraction and wore black tops to cover their t-shirts. This morning, the Met confirmed they had been arrested for criminal damage alongside two others. Nearby waxworks of Camilla, William and Kate emerged unscathed.
One of the protesters shouts, ‘This is a time for action’ before they both smear the waxwork with cake
Onlookers can be heard shouting ‘stop’ during this morning’s bizarre protest in London
As onlookers shout ‘stop’, the female protester begins a finger-wagging lecture about climate change while her male counterpart stands awkwardly
McFadden said: ‘We are here because we seek to protect our freedoms and rights, because we seek to protect this green and pleasant land which is the inheritance of us all. Last year, at Cop 26 in Glasgow, Queen Elizabeth said: ”The time for words has moved to the time for action”.’
She added: ‘The science is clear. The demand is simple: just stop new oil and gas. It’s a piece of cake.’
King Charles III is a passionate environmental campaigner who has long spoken about the dangers of global warming. He had planned to travel to Egypt for Cop27, but has since abandoned plans to do so after it was claimed former prime minister Liz Truss warned him against attending.
McFadden was among a group of 20 activists who, in May, blocked the entrance to the Nustar Clydebank oil terminal near Glasgow. They were eventually forcibly removed by police.
Today’s incident is the latest in a long list of disruptive stunts by Just Stop Oil in recent weeks. They have previously blocked the Dartford Bridge, tipped tomato soup over Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, spray painted the iconic glass frontage of Harrods orange and glued themselves to London’s Abbey Road crossing.
It recently emerged the group is being funded by a coalition of wealthy individuals from California, including Aileen Getty – the granddaughter of oil tycoon J Paul Getty – and that some of this money is used to pay activists. In response to a report in The Times this weekend, a spokesman for the group confirmed that ‘some people supporting Just Stop Oil do receive a small income’.
Just Stop Oil’s month of chaos in London with 26 protests in 24 days
Here are the main protests that have taken place so far this month –
October 1 – Bridge blockades
In its first protest of the month, Just Stop Oil protesters block Waterloo, Westminster, Lambeth and Vauxhall bridges by sitting in the road.
October 10 – Mob on the Mall
Around 30 Just Stop Oil supporters set up a roadblock on the Mall stopping traffic in both directions.
October 14 – Sunflowers stunt
Two Just Stop Oil protesters Anna Holland, 20, from Newcastle, and Phoebe Plummer, 21, throw soup at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in the National Gallery in central London. Other zealots sprayed orange paint over the New Scotland Yard HQ’s sign in Westminster, London.
October 17 – Dartford Crossing
Drivers are unable to use the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, which links Kent and Essex, after it is blocked by demonstrators climbed into the structure and suspended themselves from it.
Saturday – Islington
Roughly 20 protesters walk into the road in north London and stop traffic at Upper Street and Islington Green at 12pm. Some supporters glue themselves onto the tarmac and others used locked ons.
Sunday – Abbey Road
Members of the eco-mob stroll onto the pedestrian crossing – made famous by The Beatles album of the same name – at 1pm on Sunday and sit on it before being arrested.
Today – Madame Tussauds
Two protesters smear chocolate cake in the face of a waxwork of King Charles at Madame Tussauds before being arrested by police.
Aileen Getty, who lives in the United States and can draw on her family’s estimated $5.4 billion (£3.7 billion) fortune, has been helping to fund the Climate Emergency Fund (CEF), a US nonprofit that gives grants and funds to activists around the world, including Just Stop Oil.
This has sparked accusations from one MP that ‘foreign millionaires’ are funding eco mobs ‘to do their dirty work without any intention of coming out of the shadows and exposing themselves to democratic accountability’.
To date, Ms Getty has been thought to have given more than £800,000 ($1million) of her own money to the organisation, which has also counts Hollywood director Adam McKay among its supporters.
The CEF in turn has given out more than £6million to groups such as Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil, the latter of which have caused havoc in the UK in recent months.
Ms Getty’s grandfather, J Paul Getty, was at one time the world’s richest man.
A Madame Tussauds London’s spokesman said today: ‘At approximately 10.50am protesters entered the ‘World Stage’ Zone at Madame Tussauds London and appeared to throw what is believed to be cake at our figures of The Royal Family.
‘Our security team dealt with the incident quickly and we are working closely with the Metropolitan Police on this matter.
‘The attraction remains open, with our Royal Family set closed temporarily.’
It comes as splits emerged within the radical eco movement, with activists at odds over which actions protesters should take to get the public’s attention.
Just Stop Oil mastermind Roger Hallam has called on his organisation to take extreme actions, arguing that ‘nothing happens’ unless you upset the public.
However, Rupert Read, former spokesman for Extinction Rebellion (XR), has urged the group to focus on attracting new members to its cause instead of flashy demonstrations.
Mr Read argues the ‘radical’ actions the groups have been taking pose ‘significant barriers’ when recruiting new activists to join the cause.
XR inspired the seemingly more radical groups, Just Stop Oil and Insulate Britain.
Both groups were founded and run by experienced members of XR.
Mr Hallam, a co-founder member of XR, actually left the group to pursue a more radical extreme path.
He now co-ordinates behind the scenes for Just Stop Oil.
‘If we’re going to win, we need a lot of people on board. I’m trying to create a moderate flank,’ Mr Read, a professor at the University of East Anglia, has argued, according to The Times.
‘What I want to see, and what I believe will occur, is a much larger mobilisation of people more moderate than Extinction Rebellion but more radical than any existing mainstream groups.’
It recently emerged the group is being funded by a coalition of wealthy individuals from California, including Aileen Getty (right – at an awards ceremony with Elton John)
Climate activists are at odds over what actions protesters should take to get the public’s attention. Pictured: Anna Holland, 20, and Phoebe Plummer, 21, during a Just Stop Oil protest in which they threw two tins of Heinz tomato soup over Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in the National Gallery in central London on Oct. 14, 2022
Just Stop Oil urged protesters to take extreme actions, arguing that ‘nothing happens’ unless you upset the public. Pictured: A Just Stop Oil protester is pictured laying in a hammock over the Dartford Bridge during a demonstration on Oct. 18, 2022
Mr Read argued the climate change movement has to ‘be ready to grow exponentially’ which means activism groups must ‘lower barriers to entry.’
‘The reality is, a lot of people feel there are significant barriers of entry for them with radical and environmental activism,’ he argued.
‘I don’t think [the movement has] done such a good job to people with different political opinions and it’s not done a terribly good job of being inclusive to people of a different class background.’
The activist argued ‘most people need to engage in non-violent direct action’ and that having individuals take meaningful action on a smaller scale would ‘be a game changer.’
He said: ‘If we had a lot more people being determined that their employers or the institution where they spend most of their time should be serious about moving really fast, about reducing their climate and diversity impacts, that would be a game changer.’
However, Extinction Rebellion has urged members to focus on attracting new members to its cause instead of flashy demonstrations. Pictured: An XR protester scaling a Tube at Canning Town station at rush hour on Oct. 17, 2019
One XR leader argued the ‘radical’ actions the groups have been taking pose ‘significant barriers’ when recruiting new activists to join the cause. Pictured: Insulate Britain activists blocking traffic on the M25 on Sept. 29, 2021
Just Stop Oil protesters sprayed orange paint over the Aston Martin car showroom on Park Lane in London on Oct. 16, 2022 in an apparent spontaneous act of vandalism
However, Mr Hallam has taken a different approach to gather support, telling environmental enthusiasts: ‘If you don’t upset people enough, then nothing happens.’
‘If you upset people too much, like traditionally with violence, then you’re dead as well. But then there’s a sweet spot.’
He added: ‘No one knows where that sweet spot is, but as a general rule of thumb it’s a lot higher up than you think.’
Just Stop Oil is pushing activists to act boldly and encourages ‘high level disruption and intense mobilisation.’
Tim Hewes, a retired church of England priest affiliated with the group, told members: ‘If you’re not already in custody or dead we need you.’
The group also stresses the benefits of its ‘support system’ which includes no-fee lawyers that can help anyone who gets arrested over demonstrative action.
Additionally, members have access to an emotional support hotline with ‘climate crisis aware’ professionals and safe houses ‘where somebody will cook you dinner.’
Just Stop Oil protesters Anna Holland, 20, from Newcastle, and Phoebe Plummer, 21, threw two tins of Heinz tomato soup over an iconic Van Gogh painting at the National Gallery on Oct. 14, 2022. After their protest, the pair of demonstrators glued themselves to the floor and needed to be unglued by specialist police officers
Police say the £76 million piece of art was ‘unharmed’ during the climate demonstration
Lora Johnson, 38, was charged in the Scotland Yard incident and pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal damage. She went viral when she gave an interview about climate change while being carried off the ground by police
Just last week, two Just Stop Oil protesters threw soup at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in the National Gallery in central London.
Anna Holland, 20, from Newcastle, and Phoebe Plummer, 21, from Lambeth, south west London, threw two tins of Heinz tomato soup over the iconic £76 million painting before gluing themselves to a wall inside the Gallery.
Both have since pleaded not guilty to criminal damage to the frame of Van Gogh’s painting in a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
Other eco zealots sprayed orange paint over the New Scotland Yard HQ’s sign in Westminster, London.
Lora Johnson, 38, from Southwold, Suffolk, was charged in the incident and pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal damage.
Also last week, two Just Stop Oil protesters were arrested after they suspended themselves from the Dartford Bridge.
The pair were apparently taken down from the structure and arrested on Oct. 19, 2022 after a ‘super cherry picker’ arrived at the scene
Drivers were unable to use the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, which links Kent and Essex, after it was blocked when the demonstrators mounted its cables with climbing equipment.
Protesters Morgan Trowland, 39, and Marcus Decker, 33, climbed so high up the bridge that police negotiators urging them to descend were unable to communicate with them. The pair are then were said to have unfurled a Just Stop Oil banner and remained there for almost 36 hours.
Trowland and Decker will face a jury trial after both indicated not guilty pleas.
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