North West Tonight apologises for red ribbon call on World AIDS Day

Simon Austin's picture
by Simon Austin
NW Tonight

BBC North West Tonight has apologised after encouraging people to tie red ribbons round trees to remember victims of Covid on World AIDS Day.

The red ribbon is used as the universal symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Yesterday, on World Aids Day, North West Tonight tweeted a video encouraging people to tie red ribbons to trees to remember those in the region who had died after contracting coronavirus.

"Thousands of people across our region have lost loved ones to Covid-19. Join us at BBC NW to remember those that have died, by tying a red ribbon to your Christmas tree or a tree in your garden."

They also ran a segment on ‘Tree of Lives’ on the evening show.This led many to tweet their disapproval.

Embedded rich media on Twitter

Ian Green, CEO of the Terrence Higgins Trust, wrote: "As CEO of the @THTorguk. the UKs leading HIV charity, this is really inappropriate particularly on World AIDS Day.

"Across the UK so many of us are remembering loved ones that we have lost to HIV yet the @BBCNWT is using the symbols of that remembrance for another purpose. Sad...."

North West Tonight deleted their original tweet and also posted an apology.

“We have deleted a tweet about our project to pay tribute to COVID victims.  Given we have used red ribbons as part of it, we understand why some people found it insensitive on World AIDS Day.  We’re sorry.

“We have been working closely with those who have lost loved ones to COVID and this initiative is to remember those who have died during the pandemic.”

Presenter Roger Johnson also tweeted: “I have done the same with my own Tweet about the ribbons. It was a genuine mistake and no offence was intended to anyone. Sincere apologies.”

A BBC spokesperson later added: “We apologise for the upset caused by the launch of this project. The timing on World Aids Day was wrong. We are working closely with families in the North West who have lost loved ones during the pandemic and it was never our intention to cause offence.”