channel 4 ice sculpture climate debate


Absent political leaders replaced with ice sculptures at climate debate

They meeeelted.


Siobhan Ball

Internet Culture

Posted on Nov 28, 2019   Updated on May 19, 2021, 9:47 pm CDT

After two political leaders refused to attend a climate debate hosted by U.K.’s Channel 4 on Thursday, the TV network decided on a very special replacement for them.

Instead of empty chairs, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage were represented by ice sculptures. As the debate went on, the sculptures melted under the studio lights—and brought to mind the state of the planet.

Amid the televised debate, arguments sparked on Twitter about climate change and Channel 4’s response to Johnson and Farage’s absences.

Some said it was an appropriate and clever way to get the point across.

Others saw it as disrespectful and a sign of Channel 4’s lack of neutrality. One Twitter user said the network is “politicized and fixated on issues.”

But many applauded the stunt.

If only the ice sculptures were portraits of Boris and Farage themselves, some said.

Before the debate even aired, Johnson threatened to “reassess” Channel 4’s broadcasting license, sparking more outrage online.


Update Nov. 29, 9:50am CT: This post was corrected to state that Boris Johnson’s Channel 4 threat occurred before the debate aired.

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*First Published: Nov 28, 2019, 2:36 pm CST