A video showing a Union Jack being thrown to the ground, to be replaced with a intersex-inclusive Pride flag, has gone viral, with droves of internet users describing the video as “sad” and “shameful”.
The video, showing council workers removing Britain’s national flag for Pride Month in London’s Regent Street, has reached 18 million views on Twitter, sparking intense reaction from those in the UK and beyond.
In the video, posted by GB News presenter and commentator Darren Grimes, a man shouts at the workers who are taking down the British flag, “You’re taking the wrong f*****g flag down mate,” as the flag comes lose.
“You think I don’t know that?” one of the men working replies, to which the man filming says: “At least you know that”.
“You’re taking the wrong ****ing flag down, mate.”
“You don’t think we know that?!”
I’m with these guys. pic.twitter.com/lRWNIGGkU9
— Darren Grimes (@darrengrimes_) June 12, 2023
“100 percent,” the worker replies.
The Intersex Pride flags featured in the video first made headlines last June when dozens of them were erected on the busy shopping street to celebrate 50 years of Pride. Some were not happy because they took the place of many of the Union flags which hung marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
The updated flags incorporate a purple circle on a yellow backdrop to represent the intersex community – an umbrella term describing the estimated 1.7 percent of people born with biological characteristics or chromosome patterns which “do not fit binary notions of male or female bodies”.
While some campaigners have praised the flag for being ‘inclusive’, many viewers flooded the video with reaction, describing it as “demoralising” and “sad” to see the Union flag replaced.
“People literally laid down their lives to precent that flag from being taken down from its pole,” user @definedvalue said, with many Brits joining in expressing anger at the clip.
“I ain’t from England but when the union jack hit the pavement I felt mad,” user @wthedetermined wrote under the post. “Britain has fallen,” another person said.
The video caught the attention of Canadian clinical psychologist and author Jordan Peterson, who said the video was telling.
“This pretty much says it all,” he tweeted in response. “For, shame, Britain”.
This pretty much says it all. For shame, Britain. https://t.co/CiXspVcH02
— Dr Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) June 13, 2023
Anglo-Catholic Deacon and GB News Presenter, Calvin Robinson, said the workers should have said “no” to taking down the Union Jack if they believed it was wrong.
“They need courage. If they know it\s wrong, why are they still doing it?” he asked. “We have to be stronger. Say no,” he tweeted.
They need courage. If they know it’s wrong, why are they still doing it?
We have to be stronger. Say no.
— Calvin Robinson (@calvinrobinson) June 12, 2023
And Rita Panahi, Australian Sky News contributor and columnist also reacted to the video, writing, “Oppressed group’s don’t get to fly their flags everywhere”.
Oppressed groups don’t get to fly their flags everywhere. https://t.co/cOCY4Q9OoF
— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) June 13, 2023
Many said the way Britain’s national flag was treated in the clip was disrespectful and “shameful” – saying that it had been treated like a piece of rubbish.
“If you are going to take the Union Jack down, don’t throw it to the ground like trash. At least fold it in a respectful manner,” user @ElusiveSandCat wrote.
“Union Jack goes straight down to the deck. I am not even British but this is demoralising to watch,” another user @WhyYouPushingMe said. “Hard to think the West can come back from this”.
Americans were among those to express shock and disdain at the footage. One veteran said the actions of the workers were “disturbing”.
“As a veteran of the USA, watching the Union Jack hit the ground is disturbing. I’ve served with & respect UK soldiers, if I were there or on the field I would have risked my safety to save the Union Jack from hitting the ground, sad to see the flag fall on a cold street in London,” one user said in what was a popular response.
“Oh my God, I’m American, and this was painful to watch,” another said.
On Tuesday, one image of the flags in question, festooned along Regent Street, sparked outrage from social media users. An account promoting Regent Street encouraged users to learn more about Valentino Vecchietti, who re-designed the pride flag to include the intersex symbol.
Have you spotted our new flags flying proudly above Regent Street? 🏳️🌈 Learn about the intersex-inclusive Pride flag from it's designer Valentino Vecchietti here: https://t.co/zDZKpi20vM pic.twitter.com/1LJJZ0mdHM
— Regent Street (@RegentStreetW1) June 12, 2023
Twitter users expressed overwhelming opposition to the flying of the flags, with one user slamming it as “propaganda” and others saying they had no desire to learn more. The account later limited replies to the tweet after the backlash.