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Laurence Fox. PA
gb news

Laurence Fox apologises for ‘demeaning’ comments made about female journalist on GB News

The UK’s media regulator received around 7,300 complaints about the broadcast.

LAURENCE FOX HAS apologised for his comments made on GB News about journalist Ava Evans, saying “I’m sorry for demeaning you in that way”.

Actor-turned-politician Fox made a series of remarks about political correspondent Evans, which included asking “who would want to shag that?” during a discussion on Dan Wootton Tonight on Tuesday.

Both Fox and Wootton were suspended by GB News amid an internal investigation and a probe by Ofcom, the UK’s media regulator, who received around 7,300 complaints about the episode.

Fox said he was angry with Evans over comments she made on a BBC debate around male suicide and alleged she had a “dislike of men in general”, but apologised for “demeaning her”.

Addressing the situation in a video posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, he said: “If I was going to be sensible and I could replay it, I would say: ‘Any self-respecting man in 2023 would probably be well advised to avoid a woman who possessed that world view because she would probably cause him nothing but harm’.

“But what I did say was, you know, ‘I wouldn’t shag that’, and all that sort of stuff, which is not right. It’s demeaning to her, to Ava, so I’m sorry for demeaning you in that way.

“However angry I am with you still for doing that, and it demeans me because it’s not representative of who I am.”

He also said he expected to be sacked by GB News on Friday over the incident, adding: “I know I’m going to get sacked tomorrow. I’m saying this stuff to clear my own conscience.”

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

Evans said she had received an apology from the broadcaster.

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

Today, she 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.”

‘Shut it down’

Earlier today, broadcaster Adam Boulton, previously of Sky News, told BBC Newsnight that Ofcom should “shut it down”.

Ofcom 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”.

Ofcom chief executive 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.”

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”.

PastedImage-14087 Dan Wootton and Laurence Fox have both been suspended. PA PA

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.

Earlier, Fox posted a statement on X stating: “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.”

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.

British 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”.

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