The former footballer faces a mixed bag of reactions after expressing support for the arrested climate activist, while critics highlight his silence on the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Amid the arrest of climate activist Greta Thunberg, former footballer and television host Gary Lineker has once again found himself in the eye of a social media storm. The 20-year-old Swedish environmental crusader was recently detained following a demonstration led by Fossil Free London outside Park Lane’s InterContinental Hotel, a venue believed to host a gathering of oil magnates on October 17. Thunberg, undeterred by a subsequent public order offence, was back rallying with fellow activists outside JP Morgan offices in Canary Wharf two days later.
The video footage of Thunberg’s arrest and her strong-worded discourse against the fossil fuel sector quickly spread on social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, thanks to a share by Greenpeace. It didn’t take long before Lineker retweeted the clip with a remark: “We’ve lost our minds.” This utterance drew mixed reactions from social media users, with many noting the BBC presenter’s silence on ongoing Middle East tensions, specifically the Hamas-Israel conflict.
Critics pointed out Lineker’s ongoing engagement with environmental causes while overlooking pressing international issues like the turmoil in Israel and Gaza. A slew of responses followed Lineker’s tweet, some sarcastically welcoming him back to the political discussion scene, while others accused him of sidestepping brutal realities in favour of supporting what they called a “disillusioned teenager”.
Lineker’s tweet, however, did resonate with a section of his followers, who concurred with his stance, expressing shared frustrations over what they dubbed as present-day “crazy town” scenarios.
The BBC, Lineker’s employer, has been under scrutiny for its hesitant stance in labelling Hamas as a terrorist entity. This isn’t Lineker’s first encounter with online controversies; earlier this year, his criticism of Suella Braverman’s illegal migration bill sparked a nationwide discussion on BBC employees’ social media engagements. The broadcaster later revised its social media guidelines, a move Lineker lauded as “very sensible”.
While the online skirmish unfolds, the Metropolitan Police confirmed the arrest of 27 protesters during Thunberg’s demonstration, with 26 facing charges.