Pub bosses defend TV presenter who sparked Twitter fury after using German flag as a bar rag

The Robin in Jarrow has traditionally been bedecked in the flags of various nations for major football tournaments.
The Robin in Jarrow has traditionally been bedecked in the flags of various nations for major football tournaments.

A TV presenter hit by Twitter fury for using a German flag to wipe a South Tyneside pub’s bar during a live broadcast has been defended – by boozer bosses.

Good Morning Britain’s Katy Rickitt faced a social media backlash after using the flag to wipe the bar during a visit to The Robin (formerly The Robin Hood) in Jarrow.

She was at the pub for an early morning segment yesterday because of its famous collection of around 350 national flags, put up to mark the World Cup.

The ITV presenter jokingly used the German flag after it was removed from display - as is traditional at the pub after any team’s competition knockout - as a bar rag.

Her actions, seen by an estimated 700,000 viewers, prompted a wave on criticism on social media platform Twitter, with some users of the online platform demanding she resign.

It led her to issue her own statement on the site, saying she "sincerely apologised" for causing any offence.

But pub managers today said they were bemused by the fuss – and insisted no one should be upset.

Co-manager Clare McFall, 28, said: “We had some of our regulars in at the time just to support the broadcast and none were offended.

“The flag was taken down because that’s what we do when a team is knocked out of the competition.

“Katy was very nice and didn’t mean any harm. We would definitely welcome her back.”

From left, supervisor Jennifer Duffy, manageress Clare McFall and supervisor Elise Rodham with some of The Robin's World Cup flags.

From left, supervisor Jennifer Duffy, manageress Clare McFall and supervisor Elise Rodham with some of The Robin's World Cup flags.

In her Tweet, Katy, who also apologised to the pub for possibly putting a ‘dampener’ on things, said: “To anyone offended by the German flag this morning I sincerely apologise.

“Was just talking about the fact all flags are taken down as teams lose at the pub, if anyone saw any disrespect it was entirely unintentional.”

She later replied to one critical message, saying ‘it was a badly thought-through joke and lesson learnt’.

But it was not enough to stop a barrage of criticism.

Peter Neate tweeted: “Pulling down the flags as teams go out is fine, if that is your thing.

“However, to then use it to wipe the bar was just churlish and rather pathetic. Feeds into the little Englander mentally stereotype.”

Chris Watson said: “I suppose the best way to review this is how would you react if someone did it to the England flag or the Union Jack?

“Obviously done in the heat of the moment. Still very disrespectful, unintentional or not."

And Mark Bruce said: “Resign. Utterly disgusting and epitomises what is wrong with UK in 2018. So go, and if you don’t, here’s looking at you. 100% sackable offence.”

But there was also support, including from The Robin customer Phil Sayers, who said: “In all our opinions you did nothing wrong and we are fully behind you.”

Twitter user Nigel Bee agreed, saying: “Don't worry about it. We live in a country where people get offended for the smallest of things. You do a great job. Keep it up.”

Tony Swift added: “Katy please don’t worry, it’s not worth it, this country is getting too touchy & PC about everything.

“You can’t say anything these days without someone being offended."

The flags are put up inside and outside the Robin Hood before every World Cup, and that of any team that knocked out is immediately removed.

On Wednesday, Germany’s hopes of retaining the mantle of world champions which they won in 2012 ended when they were beaten 2-0 by South Korea.