Dan Wootton suspended by GB News after Laurence Fox row

Dan Wootton has been suspended by GB News after a row about comments made by Laurence Fox on his programme.

Fox was taken off air immediately following comments he made on air about a female journalist which have been described as “unacceptable, unjustifiable and indefensible”.

Speaking on Tuesday night during an appearance on Dan Wootton’s show, Fox made a series of remarks about Ava Evans, the political correspondent for online news site PoliticsJOE, including asking: “Who would want to shag that?”

GB News said in a statement: “[We have] suspended Dan Wootton following comments made on his programme by Laurence Fox last night.

“This follows our decision earlier today to formally suspend Mr Fox.”

The channel said it was conducting a “full investigation” into the comments.

In an earlier statement, the broadcaster said it had suspended Fox “immediately” and that it would be “apologising formally to Ms Evans today [Wednesday]”.

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Wootton offered an apology to Ms Evans in a public post on X, formerly known as Twitter, in which he described the reporter as “brilliant”.

“I apologise for what was said during the course of my show and should have done this immediately on air,” he wrote in the post.

“This not what our channel is about.”

Read more:
Reaction and what Fox said – in full
Who is Laurence Fox?

He followed the post up with another on Wednesday morning, in which he said he wanted to “reiterate my regret” over the comments made by Fox.

“Having looked at the footage, I can see how inappropriate my reaction to his [Fox’s] totally unacceptable remarks appears to be and want to be clear that I was in no way amused by the comments,” he wrote.

“I should have intervened immediately.

“I apologise unreservedly for what was a very unfortunate lapse in judgement on my part under the intense pressure of a bizarre exchange.

“I know I should have done better. I’m devastated that I let down the team and our supportive GBN family.”

Fox’s comments made journalist feel ‘physically sick’

Fox’s comments about Ms Evans aired on GB News following her appearance on the BBC’s Politics Live on Monday.

In the clip, Fox said: “We’re past the watershed so I can say this… show me a single, self-respecting man that would like to climb into bed with that woman… ever… ever.

“That little woman has been fed… spoon-fed oppression day after, day after day, starting with the lie about the gender pay gap.

“She’s sat there, and I’m going like, if I met you at a bar and that was like sentence three, chances of me just walking away are just huge.

“We need powerful, strong, amazing women who make great points for themselves. We don’t need these feminist 4.0.

“They’re pathetic and embarrassing. Who’d want to shag that?”

Ava Evans, the political correspondent for online news site Joe (Pic: BBC)
Ava Evans, the political correspondent for online news site Joe (Pic: BBC)

Ms Evans shared the clip and included a caption saying: “Laurence Fox just did a whole speech on GB News on why men apparently won’t shag me?”

In a follow-up tweet, she added that the footage made her feel “physically sick”.

And speaking to Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine show on Wednesday morning, Ms Evans said she was “really hurt” by the comments Fox made about her “body rather than her work”.

“I’m really hurt by it… I’m shocked about by it, I’m shocked that it went out.

“Do you know this is the sort of talk that you worry that men have about you when you’re not in the room. There is always sort of a worry in the back of your mind which is: ‘Are people actually interested in what I’m saying or what I’m doing?’

“Or are they just looking at me… physically and I think that that clip proves that there are some men who are.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Ms Evans updated her followers, thanking people for their support, and added: “I haven’t had an apology yet if anyone was wondering.”

Fox stands by comments amid complaints to Ofcom

The 45-year-old actor stood by his comments in his own social media posts on Wednesday.

He said: “I stand by every word of what I said.”

He went on to add: “It’s called free speech.

“I realise that the new woke world is low on laughter and high on offence, but it’s still worth trying to find the lighter moments in this joyless new cancel culture which has been created for us.”

The actor and presenter also said: “So if you are expecting a grovelling apology, I suggest you don’t hold your breath. I won’t ever apologise to the mob.

“Have a lovely day.”

Media regulator Ofcom said in it had received a “number of complaints” about comments made by Fox on GB News.

“We are assessing these complaints against our broadcast rules and will publish the outcome as quickly as possible,” the regulator said in a statement.

Fox, who was previously married to actress Billie Piper, founded the Reclaim Party in October 2020 after an appearance on the BBC’s Question Time earlier that year, which he said resulted in him being “cancelled from a 21-year acting career”.

According to its website, the party exists to challenge “woke orthodoxy” and promote “freedom of speech”, which it views as being “under grave peril”.

Last month, Wootton’s column with the MailOnline was paused while the publication investigated allegations he used a pseudonym and offered colleagues money for sexual material.

Former News of the World showbusiness editor, Dan Wootton, arrives to give evidence at the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the media, at the High Court in London February 6, 2012. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett (BRITAIN - Tags: MEDIA CRIME LAW SOCIETY)

Wootton previously admitted he had made “errors of judgement” in the past but branded criminal allegations, following a report by the Byline Times, as “simply untrue”.

He also gave a statement on his show, Dan Wootton Tonight, in which he told viewers that he has been the target of a “smear campaign” by people “with an axe to grind”.

Wotton previously worked as a showbiz editor at the now-defunct News Of The World, and appeared on ITV’s Lorraine as the showbiz correspondent.