Charlene White said she has not worn a poppy on air for a number of years, but this year's backlash has been 'bigger and more widespread' (ITV London)
Charlene White said she has not worn a poppy on air for a number of years, but this year\'s backlash has been \'bigger and more widespread\' (ITV London)

An ITV news presenter has revealed she was the victim of racist and sexist abuse for not wearing a Remembrance Day poppy on air.

Charlene White, a presenter on ITV News London, said she was subjected to a series of abusive messages online after taking the decision not to wear a poppy while presenting in a bid to appear impartial.

White said she received a number of abuse messages calling her a "black c**t" and telling her to "go back to where you came from" because of her decision.

She said that she still supports the armed forces - both her father and uncle served in the RAF and the Army - and still makes donations to the Poppy Appeal every year.

However, she said she made the decision to not wear the Poppy when appearing on television a number of years ago as she is "uncomfortable" with giving one charity more on-screen time than others.

In a statement on the ITV website, White said: "It was a decision I made a number of years ago, but the backlash this year has been far bigger and more widespread than it has been in previous years.

"I prefer to be neutral and impartial on-screen so that one of those charities doesn't feel less favoured than another.

"Off-screen in my private life - it's different.

"I wear a red ribbon at the start of December for World Aids Day, a pink ribbon in October during breast cancer awareness month, a badge in April during Bowel Cancer Awareness month, and yes - a poppy on Armistice Day.

"Every year I donate to the Poppy Appeal because above all else it is a charity that needs donations, so that it can continue to help support serving and ex-service men and women and their families."

One of the racist messages she received online described how "without all those fallen soldiers, Hitler would've taken over Britain and your family would never have been allowed here". Another simply wrote how ITV should have "sacked the slag".

White said it was "interesting" to read to remarks sent to her as "it flies in the face of everything that millions of British men and women and those in the Commonwealth have fought for generations, and continue to fight for: the right to choose, and the right of freedom of speech and expression."