Gary Lineker has challenged Twitter owner Elon Musk over the site's culture, after a threatening message was sent to the sports presenter's son in the wake of his row with the BBC.
The former footballer, who was reinstated as host of Match Of The Day (MOTD) on Monday after a brief suspension, shared a private message which said his eldest son, George, should to be “burned at the stake” for his public support of his father, who took a stand against language used in the government's new Illegal Migration Bill.
The message, from an account with only one follower, described George as a “mug” for “sticking up” for what his father said, adding: “You need to be burned at the stake”.
Lineker wrote: “Is this acceptable @Twitter @elonmusk? And I don’t mean the grammar.”
Earlier in the day, George had tweeted: “Social media’s mad isn’t it. Over the last few days, on [Instagram] – never had so many nice messages. On Twitter – never had so much abuse. It’s not even anything to do with me.”
Football coverage on BBC TV and radio was hit across the weekend as pundits, presenters and reporters – including Alan Shearer, Ian Wright and Alex Scott – joined a walkout in solidarity with Lineker. The row was sparked after Lineker was taken off air, for a tweet comparing the language used to launch a new Government asylum seeker policy to that of 1930s Germany.
The Tories unveiled their proposed new Illegal Migration Bill on Tuesday, which would detain, remove and ban asylum seekers from re-entry if they arrived in the UK through illegal means.
The aim was to "stop the boats", referring to small boats used to ferry people across the English Channel, where they could then seek amnesty. Lineker has famously hosted a number of refugees in his own home.
The BBC subsequently apologised and reinstated him as host of MOTD, while Director-General Tim Davie announced a review of social media guidelines at the broadcaster.