ITV News Presenter: Why I Don’t Wear a Poppy

By Charlene White, ITV News presenter

I have decided once again not to wear a poppy on screen.

It was not an easy decision in light of the racist and sexist abuse that I received on social media last year.

It is a subject that provokes a lot of debate and anger – but it is one that I feel strongly about.

I support and am patron of a number of charities, and due to impartiality rules, I am not allowed to visually support them all whilst presenting news programmes.

That includes things like a red ribbon for World Aids Day, or a purple band for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.

Both these and many more charities do great things in the UK, but I’m not allowed to give them exposure on screen.

So I feel uncomfortable supporting just one charity above all others, namely The Royal British Legion, but I fully support my colleagues who do choose to wear the poppy on screen.

In my private life, it’s very different.

I wear a poppy on Armistice Day, in fact I wear one that my friend’s mum knitted for me a few years ago.

And I’ve also bought one of those incredible ceramic poppies which can currently be seen at the Tower Of London.

And every year I donate to the British Legion. Money which the charity desperately needs for the work that they do to support serving and ex-service men and women and their families.

So please don’t think that I don’t support the work that our service personnel do, or that I don’t understand the sacrifices made by servicemen and women 100 years ago. I do.

I come from a Forces family. My Dad served in the RAF, and my uncle served in the Army.

I spoke to them both six years ago when I first decided not to wear a poppy, and they both support my decision.

But I don’t expect everyone to support it.

However it is always important to remember what my family, your family, and millions of people over many generations have fought for: the right to choose, and the right of freedom of speech and expression.

Source: ITVNews

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