ENTERTAINMENT

'Newsnight' Boss Denies Dropping Lily Allen Over Grenfell Tower Comments On Channel 4 News

'Sorry to disappoint conspiracists...'

16/06/2017 08:42 BST | Updated 16/06/2017 12:43 BST

The editor of ‘Newsnight’ has denied dropping Lily Allen over controversial comments she made about the Grenfell Tower fire.

The ‘Sheezus’ singer revealed on Thursday (15 June) that she had been booked to talk about the fire on the topical BBC show, having been among the first famous faces to lend a hand to those affected by the devastating blaze.

However, shortly before the show was due to air, she tweeted that she’d been dropped at the last minute.

She tweeted: “I’m sad to say @BBCNewsnight just cancelled me for tonight’s show. They have someone from the council coming on instead.” 

Bertrand Rindoff Petroff via Getty Images
Lily Allen

The cancellation comes after she gave an interview on Channel 4 News, during which she accused the mainstream media of “downplaying” the number of people killed in the fire.

Speaking to presenter Jon Snow, Lily stated: “I have never in my life seen an event like this where the death count has been downplayed by mainstream media.

“17? I’m sorry but I’m hearing from people that the figure is much closer to 150, and that many of those people are children.

“Those are off the record numbers I’ve been given from policemen and from firemen.”

However, ‘Newsnight’ editor Ian Katz was quick to dismiss the suggestion her comments led to her being dropped.

He tweeted: “Sorry to disappoint conspiracy theorists – we dropped @lilyallen because we secured interview with leader of Ken + Chelsea council late yday. 

“Decision to drop @lilyallen nothing to do with her comments on C4. We generally prioritise views with people who can be held accountable.”

Furthermore, the BBC has told HuffPost UK that Lily was dropped for timing reasons, rather than due to her prior comments.

A spokesperson said in a statement: “With live news programmes like ‘Newsnight’ final decisions on guests are often made late in the day which can mean the line up changes at short notice.

“’Newsnight’ secured an interview with the leader of Kensington and Chelsea council late on Thursday evening and dropped Lily in order to allow time for Kirsty Wark to conduct a thorough accountability interview.

“Like other BBC outlets, ‘Newsnight’ has reported official casualty figures but also made it clear that they are expected to rise substantially.”

Since Lily’s appearance on Channel 4 News, she’s posted a statement on Twitter, after being accused of “politicising” the incident.

She wrote: “I’m politicising the #Grenfell tower because it is governmental policies that have led to so many unnecessary deaths.”

Lily is one of several stars to have done their bit to help the residents of Grenfell Tower since the fire, with Jamie Oliver offering those affected free hospitality at his nearby branch of Jamie’s Italian, and Simon Cowell announcing plans to release a charity single.