Gary Lineker and Lily Allen have hit back at press attacks over their sympathy for refugees, with Lineker saying it is “worth it” despite the barrage of criticism.
The pair were condemned by the tabloid press for their comments about refugees, with The Sun even suggesting Lineker be sacked from the BBC for “peddling migrant lies”.
The footballer tweeted a link to an article Allen wrote for Vice, which condemned for the press, saying they “want to stop celebrities like me talking about the migrant crisis”.
Allen wrote in the article: “The Sun sent a message this week: if another public figure was thinking about becoming more involved in the migrant crisis they might take a look at what happened to me and Gary and think it’s not worth it.”
Lineker tweeted: “It is worth it.”
Allen went to the Calais camp, which is now being demolished, and was moved to tears by the story of a 13-year-old Afghan boy, trying to reach his father in Birmingham.
Delays in bringing him to the UK led him to try to stow away in lorries, risking his life. Allen told him: “I apologise on behalf of my country.”
Allen was called a “sobbing luvvie” on the front page of the Daily Star and “another indulged idiot” by a Daily Mail columnist.
The row over child migrants escalated as the press questioned the supposed age of some of the children arriving in Britain.
Lineker tweeted about a now-discredited claim that one of those pictured was in fact an interpretor.
In her Vice article, Allen writes: “I don’t really believe the tabloid journalists are worried about 14 refugees coming to the country. I don’t think it’s conspiratorial to say there are other motives at play.
“Refugees have become a representation of a lot of other factors. They’re being used to push several other agendas.”
She said that The Sun was pursuing Lineker as a way of targeting the BBC, saying proprietor Rupert Murdoch “hates” the broadcaster.
She added: “The furore about whether or not some refugees may have lied about their ages is not really about whether these refugees can enter the country; it’s about creating the narrative that people trying to come here aren’t asking for our help, but trying to dupe us, take advantage of the system.
“The hope is that this will make us less trusting of them next time round.”
Allen tweeted tweeted an update on the situation in Calais from charity Help Refugees about hundreds of unaccompanied children stuck with nowhere to go as the demolition of the camp continues.
When someone asked if this information was from a reliable source, Allen responded: