Evan Davis on ‘ridiculous’ claims he campaigned with Britain First

‘If I was a happy clappy far right racist, I’d avoid photos with racists’: BBC Newsnight host Evan Davis dismisses ‘ridiculous’ Corbynista claims he backs Britain First after ‘innocent selfie’ resurfaces

  • Star seen in the photo with Britain First leaders Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding
  • Golding posted it to Twitter with a caption calling him a ‘Britain First supporter’
  • Mr Davis said he had no idea who the pair were when they asked for the selfie 
  • Image was seized by pro-Corbyn supporters this week as ‘proof’ of BBC’s bias

BBC presenter Evan Davis has been forced to dismiss ‘ridiculous’ claims that he campaigned with Britain First after a selfie surfaced of him with far-Right activists. 

The Newsnight star is seen in the photo with Britain First leaders Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding, both of whom were jailed this year for hate crimes against Muslims.

The image was seized by pro-Corbyn supporters on social media this week as ‘proof’ of the presenter’s political bias.

It was originally published online in 2016 by Golding with the caption ‘campaigning today with Evan Davis, Britain First supporter and News Night [sic] presenter!’

The Newsnight star is seen in the photo with Britain First leaders Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding, both of whom were jailed this year for hate crimes against Muslims


Mr Davis (left) revealed on Twitter that he had no idea who Fransen and Golding (right) were when the pair ‘jumped out of a van’ and asked for an ‘innocent’ selfie

However Mr Davis revealed on Twitter that he had no idea who Fransen and Golding were when the pair ‘jumped out of a van’ and asked for an ‘innocent’ selfie.

The 56-year-old said the accusations made against him were ‘so ridiculous’ he had been reluctant to ‘dignify it’ with a thorough explanation, but felt obliged to.

He said: ‘Over two years ago, I was walking in Kennington when two people who I didn’t know jumped out of a van and said “can we have a selfie?”.


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‘So I said yes and smiled with them as I ordinarily would. An hour later, I’m at the local flower show and I got a call from my editor “we have a W1A situation”.

‘It was explained to me who was in the photo and how it was used. So I clarified in a tweet (or thought I had clarified) that I had merely posed for an innocent selfie.

‘But to be clear: the photo isn’t a fake; it’s the attempt to read my politics into it that’s wrong. Overall, I think if I was a happy clappy far right racist, I’d avoid posing for photos.’

 

The 56-year-old said the accusations made against him were ‘so ridiculous’ he had been reluctant to ‘dignify it’ with a thorough explanation, but felt obliged to

Paul Golding (second right) and Jayda Fransen, leader and deputy leader of far-right group Britain First, with supporters upon arrival at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court in March

Britain First leader Paul Golding was found guilty of religiously-aggravated harassment in March following an incident in Kent.

Jayda Fransen was convicted of three counts of the same offence after the pair were arrested in 2017 as part of a probe into the distribution of leaflets and online videos. 

Judge Justin Barron said the duo’s words and actions ‘demonstrated hostility’ towards Muslims and the faith of Islam.

Fransen shot into the international media spotlight last November when US president Donald Trump retweeted anti-Islamic posts from her Twitter page.

Golding and Fransen, of Penge, South East London, stood trial in January charged with three and four counts respectively of the hate crime. 

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