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Calls for GB News to be ‘shut down’ after Laurence Fox’s on-air remarks on Dan Wootton's show

THERE HAVE BEEN calls for GB News to be ‘shut down’ following remarks made by Laurence Fox on Dan Wooton’s show about a female journalist.

Broadcaster Adam Boulton, previously of Sky News, told BBC Newsnight that Ofcom, the UK’s media regulator, should “shut it down”.

Ofcom received around 7,300 complaints about the Tuesday programme of Wootton’s show which saw guest Laurence Fox make a series of personal remarks about a female journalist.

It is investigating under Rule 2.3 of the Broadcasting Code which states when “applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context”.

"Frankly what Ofcom should do is shut it down"

Broadcaster Adam Boulton tells #Newsnight regulator Ofcom should shut down GB News for disrupting Britain's 'broadcast ecology'https://t.co/P0zxS1DNGF pic.twitter.com/BSE3CoPXbj

— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) September 27, 2023

Fox and Wootton – who was heard laughing during the segment – had been suspended by GB News yesterday.

Ofcom chief executive Dame Melanie Dawes said: “Over the last few days there has been speculation and commentary about our role as the independent broadcast regulator. These are important issues and I wanted to be clear about our rules.

“Parliament sets objectives on how the broadcast sector should be regulated. We set and enforce rules to achieve these objectives.

“Contrary to some claims, these rules remain unchanged.”

On Tuesday, actor-turned-politician Fox made a series of remarks about Ava Evans, the political correspondent for online news site Joe, including asking: “Who would want to shag that?”

Following the discussion, Wootton apologised “unreservedly” for a “very unfortunate lapse in judgment” in a follow-up post to an earlier apology, which suggested he should have said sorry for what was said during the broadcast.

laurence fox Ian West / PA Laurence Fox Ian West / PA / PA

The broadcast prompted an internal investigation by GB News, while Evans said she had received an apology from the broadcaster.

Today, Evans told Good Morning Britain that her direct messages on social media are full of “astounding” threats.

She added: “I’m deeply embarrassed by all of it and I’m appreciative for everyone who has very kindly stood up for me, but it’s sort of the other side of it, which is half of the comments are very lovely and supportive, and the other side are very threatening.”

ava evans Channel 5 / PA Ava Evans has said that her social media messages are filled with threats Channel 5 / PA / PA

In addition to being suspended by GB News, Wooton’s contract with the MailOnline, where he wrote a column, has also been terminated.

Wootton’s column was originally paused in August while the MailOnline investigated allegations that he used a pseudonym and offered colleagues money for sexual material.

Today, a spokesperson from the publication’s parent company, DMG Media, said: “Following events this week, DMG Media can confirm that Dan Wootton’s freelance column with MailOnline, which had already been paused, has now been terminated, along with his contract.”

The 40-year-old previously said he had made “errors of judgment” in the past but branded the “criminal allegations” as “simply untrue”.

His previous employers at The Sun newspaper, where Wootton had worked as an executive editor until he announced in January 2021 that he would leave, said in July they were looking into allegations made against the New Zealand-born star.

Meanwhile, posted a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Just so we are clear.

“I would rather scrub toilets for the rest of my days and retain my dignity. Than shill for cash and opportunity, only to compromise absolutely everything which really matters in life.

“I’ve made many millions over the years and I gave them up to fight a battle I didn’t want to fight. So if you think that some half baked pile on is going to stop me.

“Think again. I am truly free.”

The leader of the Reclaim Party also claimed in a series of tweets that he had done a “pre interview” with the channel “so they knew exactly what I intended to say”.

Conservative MPs on GB News

Some Conservative MPs have presented shows on GB News, something that was last night criticised by Tory MP Caroline Nokes.

She criticised a number of her Conservative colleagues for “swanning off” to host shows on the station.

The Commons Women and Equalities Committee chair said it is “very odd” for colleagues such as Lee Anderson and Jacob Rees-Mogg to have presenting gigs while they have a “day job to do”.

Nokes was highly critical of the broadcaster after it aired “blatantly misogynistic, outdated, hideous attitudes” displayed by Dan Wootton and Laurence Fox.

Speaking to BBC Newsnight, she said the channel should be taken off air.

“I was appalled by a news channel broadcasting such blatantly misogynistic, outdated, hideous attitudes,” she said.

“I think there is a really serious case to answer and I hope that Ofcom can conclude its investigations as swiftly as possible.

“I think it should be taken off air, it was entirely predictable that Laurence Fox was going to come out with a statement that was that offensive.”

"I think it should be taken off air"

Conservative MP Caroline Nokes tells #Newsnight Ofcom needs space to its job and that maybe regulations should be 'tightened up'https://t.co/P0zxS1DNGF pic.twitter.com/RizHEY89vt

— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) September 27, 2023

But she was also critical of her colleagues who have their own lucrative gigs presenting on GB News.

“I think it’s a very odd relationship to be quite frank and I don’t go on any of their shows,” she said.

“From my perspective if you’re a Member of Parliament you have a day job to do, getting on with the work you have in the House of Commons and not swanning off, and in some cases several times a week, to present a show on a television channel.”

Anderson, the deputy Tory party chair, former Cabinet minister Rees-Mogg are joined by Philip Davies and Esther McVey as Tory MPs presenting on GB News.

Former culture secretary Nadine Dorries also faced criticism for hosting a TalkTV show before standing down as an MP.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has since backed Tory MP Lee Anderson as doing a “fantastic job” for his constituents, despite facing criticism for having a £100,000 (€116,000) second job as a GB News presenter.

Sunak today said that the deputy Conservative Party chairman has his “total support”.