Mr Neil had been chairman and star presenter of GB News, but only presented for two weeks before taking an extended break. He has since cut links with the channel, tweeting he will “never again be on GB News”.
The former BBC presenter told the Daily Mail he “came close to a breakdown” during his time with GB News, describing the experience as “worse” than being “on the IRA hit list”.
Mr Neil expressed frustration over technical issues, an early launch and the hiring of “shock jocks” by GB News.
He commented: “Look at the direction of travel.
“They bring in these shock jocks in the morning and evening – Mark Dolan and this Patrick Christys. You’ve already got Dan Wootan.”
Speaking about GB News coverage Mr Neil added: “I do feel angry though about what they’ve done to a beautiful dream.
“This was a vision that might have worked. But if you watch the constant themes that come through again and again from the shock jockeys on GB News, the perception is ‘we hate migrants, we hate the NHS, we hate lockdown and we hate Meghan Markle’.”
The former chairman also claimed there were discussions within GB News about putting “secret cameras in classrooms to show how Left-wing the teachers were”.
Mr Neil warned this would get them into “hot water for breaking about five different laws, including filming minors”.
“You were just constantly wondering: ‘Will we make it through the hour?’
“By the end of that first week, I knew I had to get out.
“It was really beginning to affect my health. I wasn’t sleeping. I was waking up at two or three in the morning.”
Mr Neil also argued GB News launched in June before it was fully ready, and regrets not being more vocal in opposing this.
He stated: “When I do look back, the one thing I will say is I wish I’d been more publicly demonstrative about not launching on June 13.
“It wouldn’t have stopped the launch and it wouldn’t have stopped the s**tshow that followed, but I would have been on the record saying: ‘Don’t do this. It’s going to be a disaster’.”
A spokesman for GB News contested Mr Neil’s account of his time with the channel.
They 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.
“The launch date of GB News was set to accommodate Andrew’s own travel plans. Indeed, contrary to management’s wishes, it was Andrew who insisted the launch date be announced, failing which he refused to travel to London for it.
“At no time did Andrew ask to be executive chairman and at no point was this offered to him. He was always a non-executive chairman.”
Published at Sat, 25 Sep 2021 07:47:00 +0000