Dan Wootton no longer employed by GB News after Ofcom ruling

Dan Wootton has parted company with GB News, a day after media regulator Ofcom found that an episode of his show broke its broadcasting rules.

Dan Wootton no longer employed by GB News after Ofcom ruling
Dan Wootton no longer employed by GB News after Ofcom ruling

Wootton was suspended by the channel in September after comments by Laurence Fox about a female journalist prompted 8,867 complaints to the watchdog.

Ofcom’s ruling, published on Monday, said Fox’s remarks “were clearly and unambiguously misogynistic”.

Wootton said he had left GB News to launch his own independent platform.

He said it would not be regulated by the “Ofcommunist censors”, adding: “Yesterday’s chilling Ofcom report clearly raises far bigger issues.”

In its statement on Tuesday, the TV channel said: “Dan Wootton joined GB News before its launch and was a part of the first on-air line up.

“Dan is no longer employed by GB News and we thank him for his contribution and wish him well with his future endeavours.”

On the 26 September episode of Dan Wootton Tonight, Fox made remarks about journalist Ava Evans that Ofcom has concluded were sexist, misogynistic and offensive.

Fox, an actor turned politician, drew condemnation after asking what “self-respecting man” would “climb into bed” with her, during a live show.

‘No apology’

Wootton could be seen smiling and laughing throughout Fox’s remarks, before adding for “a touch of balance” that Evans had qualified her comments, and called her a “very beautiful woman”.

On Monday, Ofcom said Fox’s remarks “constituted a highly personal attack on Ms Evans and were potentially highly offensive to viewers”, adding that the comments “were clearly and unambiguously misogynistic”.

“[The comments] reduced her contribution to a broadcast discussion on mental health – in her professional capacity as a political journalist – to a judgment on whether she, or women like her who publicly expressed their political opinions, were sexually desirable to men,” Ofcom said in its ruling.

Ofcom added that Wootton’s reaction and limited challenge “did not mitigate the potential for offence” and instead “exacerbated it by contributing to the narrative in which a woman’s value was judged by her physical appearance”.

It added that “no apology was made after the interview with Mr Fox in the remainder of the two-hour programme – nor were any other editorial techniques used to address the potential for offence”.

The broadcasting regulator also said it had “significant concerns about GB News’ editorial control of its live output” and told the channel to “provide further detailed information about its compliance practices in this area”.

In his response, Wootton hit out at the watchdog, writing: “How can any broadcaster or publisher truly stand for freedom of expression when state goons have the power to decide what you are and are not allowed to say on air?”

He added: “It’s not broadcasters who should be fearful of a carpeting from Ofcom: it’s Ofcom that should be summoned in by this supposedly Conservative government to be reined in.”

Following the original comments, GB News suspended both presenters from the channel and said the insults were “totally unacceptable”. Fox was sacked a week later.

The publisher of the MailOnline also announced it had sacked Wootton, who had written a column for the newspaper since 2021, “following events this week”.

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