GB News presenter Dan Wootton issues apology after laughing at ‘misogynistic’ Laurence Fox rant

GB News presenter Dan Wootton issues apology after laughing at ‘misogynistic’ Laurence Fox rant

GB News presenter Dan Wootton has apologised after laughing and smirking during an “offensive and misogynistic” rant by Laurence Fox about a female journalist during a live broadcast.

Wootton claims he nodded his head and chuckled out of “shock and surprise” as Fox made a series of explosive remarks about Ava Evans, the political correspondent for online news site Joe during an episode of Dan Wootton Tonight on Tuesday.

It comes during a difficult period for the 40-year-old presenter who has been accused of using fake online identities to trick men into sending him sexually explicit images - allegations he strongly denies and puts down to a “witch hunt”.

Fox’s outburst on Tuesday’s show was in response to Ms Evans saying a dedicated minister for men would “feed into the culture war” during a discussion on male suicide BBC’s Politics Live.

Dan Wootton smiled and laughed during Laurence Fox’s comments on his show on Tuesday (GB News)
Dan Wootton smiled and laughed during Laurence Fox’s comments on his show on Tuesday (GB News)

Fox told a smiling Wootton: “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, who wasn’t an Incel?

“That little woman has been spoon fed oppression day after day after day, starting with the lie of the gender wage gap. And she is sat there, and I’m going like “if I met you in a bar and that was, like, sentence three, (the) chances of me just walking away are just huge.

“We need strong, powerful amazing women who make great points for themselves. We don’t need these feminist 4.0 (so called fourth wave feminists). They are pathetic and embarrassing. Who’d want to [expletive bleeped out] that?”

After failing to intervene, Wootton made a belated attempt to defend Ms Evans. He said: “I’m just going to provide a touch of balance from her because she did actually respond to this earlier today, saying that she regretted her comments, but she didn’t apologise. Uh, yes. So there you go. And she’s a very beautiful woman Laurence, very beautiful.”

Following the interview, GB News announced on X, formerly Twitter, it was launching an investigation, describing Fox’s comments as “totally unacceptable” and apologising to Ms Evans, who said on social media that the footage had made her feel “physically sick”.

Then, on Wednesday morning, Wootton, having made an initial apology to Ms Evans on X, posted a 172-word statement the social media platform in which he expressed his regret while also appearing to defend his reaction, describing it as “shock and surprise in an off-guard moment”.

He said: “I want to reiterate my regret over last night’s exchange with Laurence on GB News. Having looked at the footage, I can see how inappropriate my reaction to his totally unacceptable remarks appears to be and want to be clear that I was in no way amused by the comments.

“I reacted as I did out of shock and surprise in an off-guard moment while working out how to respond as he continued to speak by searching for tweets @AvaSantina had sent earlier in the day while having them read out in my ear at the same time. However, I should have intervened immediately to challenge offensive and misogynistic remarks.

“I apologise unreservedly for what was a very unfortunate lapse in judgment 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.

“We seek to tackle the issue and not the person, which I intend to stress again on air tonight.”

Wootton turned off replies on his post, but that did not stop many on X continuing to criticise the presenter, Fox and the channel. Carole Vorderman urged people to log a complaint media regulator Ofcom, and said: “There is seemingly no bar too low for the so called news channel GB News.”

On Wednesday morning, Ofcom said it had received a “number of complaints” over the comments made by Fox, who has also now been suspended by GB News. A regulator spokesperson said: “We can confirm we’ve received a number of complaints about comments made by Laurence Fox on GB News last night. We are assessing these complaints against our broadcast rules and will publish the outcome as quickly as possible.”

Fox, meanwhile, refused to apologise for the comments, adding that he stood “by every word of what I said” in a lengthy post on social media. On Wednesday morning, he also shared a screengrab from a private social media conversation which appeared to imply it was with Wootton.

The sender in the chat had written “Making you giggle is my weekly joy”, with the responder replying with three “laughing” emojis and saying “You can imagine them freaking out in the gallery!!!!!”. However, it is unclear who the conversation is really between.

The actor, who has been repeatedly involved in controversies over his public comments and political stance, wrote in his own post: “I stand by every word of what I said. If a woman wants to go on television and belittle male suicide, she is totally within her rights to do so and not apologise, just as I am totally within my rights to say that I wouldn’t want to shag a hyper offended 4th wave feminist.”

But a member of the on-screen team at GB News told The Independent: “We had an otherwise excellent day of exclusives on Tuesday, but the only conversation about GB News now is what Laurence Fox said last night. His targeted misogynistic ramblings are tarnishing our hard work. It’s inexcusable and repulsive.”

It has been a turbulent few months for Wootton who has faced accusations of potential criminal behaviour by allegedly using a pseudonym and offering newspaper colleagues money for sexual material. The presenter has strongly denied the allegations.

Former employer The Sun has said it has launched an investigation into the allegatons, while DMG Media, which publish MailOnline as well as the Daily Mail, has paused his column while it carries out its own probe.

GB News chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos said last week that the channel was monitoring the allegations - but had not launched an investigation.

The Met Police told The Independent last month that it was “assessing the information to establish whether any criminal offence has taken place”, but there was no current police investigation being carried out. The Independent has contacted Scotland Yard for an update.

Actor Laurence Fox has stood by the comments he made during the live broadcast with Dan Wootton (PA Archive)
Actor Laurence Fox has stood by the comments he made during the live broadcast with Dan Wootton (PA Archive)

Wootton took a break to see family in New Zealand in July, before returning on air, telling viewers that he had been made the target of a “smear campaign”. Claiming he was was the victim of a “witch hunt”, he said: “I, like all fallible human beings, have made errors of judgment in the past but the criminal allegations being made against me are simply untrue.

“I would like nothing more than to address those spurious claims, I could actually spend the next two hours doing so, but on the advice of my lawyers I cannot comment further.”

Wootton was formerly a showbiz journalist at the now defunct News Of The World before moving The Sun newspaper. In 2021 he joined GB News.

The Independent has contacted GB News and representatives for Evans, Fox and Wootton for further comment.