A group of Falklands War veterans have staged a silent protest outside TalkSport’s headquarters over pundit Stan Collymore’s comments that Britain “thieved” the Islands.
The former servicemen are calling on the former England and Liverpool striker to resign from his radio job at the station following the tweet, which he sent last month to his more than 600,000 Twitter followers.
Around 40 people, including decorated ex-servicemen who served in the conflict, travelled from across the country to attend the protest in Hatfields in Essex.
The demonstrators said that it was the timing of the tweet, on the anniversary of the sinking of missile destroyer HMS Coventry on May 25 leading to 19 deaths, which upset them, rather than the content.
Collymore himself later said his comments had been taken out of context and suggested he meant did not mean to demean the soldiers who served in the 1982 conflict:
Campaign spokesman and Falklands veteran Dougie Brimson, who organised the protest, said he believed in freedom of speech but said Collymore’s comments overstepped the mark.
The 55-year-old, from Hertfordshire, said:
On 25 May Stan Collymore posted a tweet which disrespected the memory of the 255 men and three islanders who died during the liberation of the Falkland Islands. It upset a lot of people and has taken us to this position.
Everybody’s got a right to hold an opinion and to voice that opinion. The issue with the tweet is that the words used – inferring that the islands were thieved – we found disrespectful.
A number of people at the time asked on Mr Collymore to apologise which he refused to do. That added to the upset.
Mr Brimson said that while he did not personally support the removal of Collymore from the airwaves, the group “want a resolution.”
“I think if you cause offence to people, either knowingly or unknowingly, you should be strong enough and brave enough to apologise,” he added. “Sadly he hasn’t felt the need to do that yet.”
In a statement, TalkSport said: “A member of senior management is meeting with representatives of the group on Tuesday. We have no further comment at this point.”