The political journalist who was the subject of comments made by Laurence Fox on a GB News show that led to his suspension by the channel has revealed she has received threatening messages in a “really nasty” past 24 hours.
Ava Evans, political correspondent for online news site Joe, was discussed by the actor-turned-politician on Dan Wootton Tonight on Tuesday, in which Fox referred to her asking “Who would want to shag that?”
Wootton has also since been suspended by the broadcaster amid an internal investigation and a probe by regulator Ofcom, while Ms Evans said she had received an apology from GB News but had yet to decide whether to accept it.
Ms Evans said she had received messages of support from the public following the incident but also “threats that have come into my inbox”.
Speaking to the BBC Newscast podcast, she said: “I don’t know where this is going to go. I don’t know how social media is going to react to the news [that Laurence Fox has been suspended].
“There is a following that he has that is quite fanatical. I think that’s possibly the most polite way I can say it and I’ve already been looking at a few threats that have come into my inbox, and I’m like, over the evening, is this going to really ramp up and maybe I’m going to have to watch over my shoulder before I go to my house, just so that I know no one’s looking at where I live.
“Just before we came in here, there was a tweet that said ‘watch your back.’ If I get into my head that they’re credible, then I’ll be frightened, so instead I’ll just go on, ‘It’s people online’.”
Ms Evans said the comments by Fox made her feel “disgusting” and “vile”.
She said: “What I’ve really not liked about this is the conversation about my body. It’s not just that Laurence Fox said these comments last night. It has been the vitriol on social media that has ensued.
“I’ve had all sorts of accounts basically rating me and deciding whether I’m worth taking to bed, and reading that sort of stuff is just so disgusting. I’ve never had that kind of carnal side of commentary before. It’s a new experience.
“A lot of the comments I’ve had today are men telling me they would sleep with me, and he [Fox] is wrong, which is just as bad, because I’m scrolling through and thinking, ‘Oh cool, 400 people who want to sleep with me, this makes me feel totally normal…’”
On the apology, she added: “It was an email from the editor – a very gracious email – basically telling me that what Fox said was not representative of the rest of the GB News outfit.”
“That’s actually probably the best apology I could have gotten. Honestly, not to cast doubt on our media landscape, but I didn’t actually think anything was going to happen.
“I don’t want to say I’m pleased by it. I just think that’s probably the best outcome I could have hoped for.”
Asked whether she accepted it, Ms Evans said: “Let’s just see how the investigation goes. I’m also interested to see how the Ofcom investigation goes.”
She also called for Tory MPs to stop appearing on the channel over the incident, with GB News airing shows hosted by politicians including current Conservative Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson and former Cabinet members Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and Esther McVey.
Ms Evans said: “It makes me very uncomfortable as a journalist to see those sorts of people, the people who make our laws, who speak in the ‘mother of all parliaments’ alongside that kind of narrative. It doesn’t fit well for me.”
“If you’re going to be on that Channel, are you aligning yourself with those views, are you saying that those are the sort of things that are okay to say and, therefore, am I safe working alongside you in Parliament?”
Fox, 45 – whose previous acting credits include Gosford Park and Elizabeth: The Golden Age – tweeted that he stands “by every word of what I said” to his more than 400,000 followers on X, formerly known as Twitter.