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Red Arrows Olympic Ban Petition

Summary:
Message claims that organizers of the 2012 London Olympics have banned famous Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows, from appearing at the event because they are "too British" and may offend other attending nations (Full commentary below).



Status:
False

Example:(Submitted, October 2007)
Subject: FW: PC gone to far again - The Red Arrows . HARD TO SWALLOW!

Proof (if it was needed) that the world is truly mad......

Forward this to as many people as possible!!! (British Citizens) The world-famous Red Arrows have been banned from appearing at the 2012 London Olympics because they are deemed "too British".

Organisers of the event say that the Arrows military background might be "offensive" to other countries taking part in the Games. The display team have performed at more than 4000 events worldwide, but the Department of Culture, Media and Sport have deemed the display team "too militaristically British". Red Arrows pilots were said to be "outraged", as they had hoped to put on a truly world class display for the Games, something which had never been seen before. Being axed from a British-based event for being "too British" is an insult - the Arrows are a symbol of Britain .

The Red Arrows have been excellent ambassadors for British overseas trade, as they display their British-built Hawk aircraft all over the world.

The Arrows performed a short flypast in 2005 when the winning bid was announced, but their flypast at the Games was to have been truly spectacular.

It is to be hoped that common sense prevails If you disagree with this decision, sign the petition on the link
http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/RedArrows2012/?ref=redArrows2012




Commentary:
This email claims that the famous Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, has been banned from appearing at the 2012 London Olympics because they are "too British" and might offend some other attending nations.

©iStockphoto.com/gary forsyth

Red Arrows In Action
Concern about a Red Arrows Olympic ban is unfounded
The supposed ban has caused a great deal of anger about this apparent example of absurd political correctness. Thousands of people have signed an online petition protesting the ban.

While all this anger and resentment is perfectly understandable, in this case, it is entirely misplaced. The Red Arrows have not been banned from appearing at the London Olympics at all. In fact, neither The Red Arrows nor the London Olympic Organizing Committee has even discussed the possible participation of the aerobatic team as yet. The Red Arrows Team has published the following statement quashing the rumour:
There has been a lot of speculation recently both in the media and online regarding whether we have been banned from displaying at the 2012 Olympics, and we are getting an increasingly large amount of enquiries from people wondering whether or not to sign online petitions. We are very happy to tell you that the story is complete rubbish! It’s far too early for either us or the organising committee of London 2012 to discuss any participation by the Red Arrows in the celebrations. We plan our display season one year in advance and so we’re currently busy trying to organise our 2008 display season. We would like to thank everyone for their support – but hope that the truth behind this story will put everyone’s concerns to rest.
London Olympic officials have also published a denial of the rumour on the London 2012 website:
London 2012 has responded to reports that the Red Arrows have been banned from the Opening Ceremony of the Games, describing the rumours as 'utter nonsense'. The London 2012 Organising Committee will decide what to include in all celebrations and they will be a showcase of the best the UK has to offer. But with five years to go, decisions are yet to be made on what the celebrations will look like.
According to The Register, the furore started after British Tabloid, The Sun published the story as "news" in September 2007. Some other media outlets picked up the story and it then rapidly spread across the Internet via blogs, online forums and email.

In spite of these denials, and a similar denial from the UK Government published right on the petition page, the online petition is still open. At the time of writing, the petition had collected over 206,000 signatures.

Some have postulated that the UK Government has simply done a back flip in response to the widespread protest. But, the Government's claims seem quite reasonable in view of the fact that the London Olympics are still some years away. And the Red Arrows have already performed in connection with the 2012 Olympics when they participated in celebrations after London won the bid for The Games in 2005.

Moreover, The Sun is hardly a publication that garners respect for its journalistic integrity. It has often been criticized for publishing trashy, sensationalist stories that are untrue or based on entirely unsubstantiated hearsay and rumour. Thus, it seems clear that this foolish rumour is entirely baseless and, therefore, forwarding the protest email is utterly pointless.

References:
Petition to Allow the Red Arrows to Fly at the 2012 Olympics
Don't believe everything you read in the newspapers!
No truth in Red Arrows rumour
Red Arrows Olympic 'ban' causes online furore

Last updated: 26th October 2007
First published: 26th October 2007

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen