George Michael accuses BBC
in war row
Michael has accused music TV show Top of the Pops of
ordering him not to wear an anti-war T-shirt for a
The star, who recorded a
version of protest song The
Grave for the show, said the BBC refused to let him wear
a T-shirt bearing the words "No, war, Blair
His spokeswoman said he was
"very upset" at having to change for the
performance of the Don McLean song, which was aired on
BBC One on Friday.
"We are not giving George
Michael a platform to air his political views, we are
giving viewers the fantastic opportunity to see an
international star perform on TOTP for the first time in
17 years," a BBC statement said.
Michael's spokeswoman also said the BBC told his backing
band that they would be cut out of the broadcast when
they wore the T-shirts because they did not have a
change of clothes.
"George wore a black
sweatshirt with denim jacket during rehearsals and a
brown leather jacket and black hooded top during his
main performance," the BBC said.
"At no stage did he wear a
T-shirt. His backing singers did wear anti-war T-shirts
but the programme was still being edited right up until
The audience's attention was
focused on the first appearance on the show of such a
big star for a generation, the statement said.
"The BBC has a duty to air
all points of view equally, so if for instance, there
was a pro-war song performed by an equally established
artist it would be considered in the same way adhering
to BBC editorial policy guidelines," the statement
Michael had not appeared on Top
of the Pops since singing Wham!'s number one Edge of
Heaven in 1986.
The Grave was originally
written by McLean about the Vietnam war.
McLean said he was "proud
of George Michael for standing up for life and sanity".
George Michael has been one of the most outspoken
celebrities on the issue of Iraq, and performed an
anti-war version of his hit Faith with Ms Dynamite at
the Brit Awards.
The BBC did give him an
opportunity to air his anti-war views on Friday, however,
in a debate with Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan
Smith - who backs the the government's line - on Radio
Five Live's Drive show.