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Dan Wootton out at GB News day after Ofcom breach over Laurence Fox’s misogynistic rant

Wootton announced he has left his presenting role and is launching his own independent platform

Tara Cobham
Tuesday 05 March 2024 21:16 GMT
Ava Evans says getting Laurence Fox and Dan Wootton suspended wasn’t ‘a goal’

Dan Wootton is out at GB News a day after the media watchdog ruled misogynistic comments made by Laurence Fox on his show broke broadcasting rules.

Mr Wootton, who announced he has left the £600,000-a-year presenting role to launch his own independent platform, was heavily criticised for failing to stop right-wing commentator Mr Fox from making a vile on-air rant against a female journalist last year.

On Monday, Ofcom ruled that Mr Fox’s “misogynistic” comments about female journalist Ava Evans on Mr Wootton’s GB News show broke broadcasting rules that protect “viewers from offensive content”.

An email seen by The Independent,which was circulated internally, confirmed Wootton has left the company (Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

An email seen by The Independent, which was circulated internally, confirmed Mr Wootton has left the company.

It reads: “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.”

Mr Wootton’s legal representatives at Griffin Law also confirmed he no longer works for GB News Ltd.

His name no longer features in the channel’s list of presenters on its website.

On Monday, Ofcom ruled that Laurence Fox’s ‘misogynistic’ comments on GB News broke broadcasting rules that protect ‘viewers from offensive content’ (PA)

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Mr Wootton said: “I have left GB News to launch my own independent Outspoken platform which will from later this year feature a brand new daily news and opinion show that will NOT be regulated by the Ofcommunist censors.

“However, yesterday’s chilling Ofcom report clearly raises far bigger issues.

“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?”

Nearly 9,000 people complained to the media regulator over the comments made by Mr Fox on Mr Wootton’s GB News show, with viewers complaining they were sexist, misogynistic and offensive.

Right-wing commentator Fox made a vile on-air rant against Ava Evans on GB News last year (ITV)

In the segment aired on 26 September 2023, the former actor and Reclaim Party founder called Ms Evans a “little woman”, declaring: “Show me a single self-respecting man that would like to climb into bed with that woman ever, ever, who wasn’t an incel.”

The watchdog’s investigation found his remarks “constituted a highly personal attack on Ms Evans and were potentially highly offensive to viewers”, concluding: “Mr Fox’s comments were degrading and demeaning both to Ms Evans and women generally and were clearly and unambiguously misogynistic.”

Mr Fox and Mr Wootton – who both did not say sorry while on air but did later apologise – were suspended by the channel after the broadcast. Mr Fox was later sacked.

Following Ofcom’s ruling, Mr Fox said in a statement posted to Twitter/X: “I’m not overly bothered about this anymore. I could have expressed myself better, that’s life and I’ve said my bit. I still think it’s one of the biggest pieces of confected outrage I’ve ever witnessed.”

Mr Wootton last month said police have confirmed they would be taking no further action over separate allegations made against him.

The New Zealand-born presenter claimed to have been “the victim of a politically-motivated witch hunt through the left-wing and social media”.

In a statement issued to the Guido Fawkes website on 21 February, he said: “Well six months on, I have now been completely cleared in two investigations by the Metropolitan and Scottish Police, who have confirmed they will be taking no further action.”

It came as GB News losses widened by nearly 40 per cent last year as its owners continued to pour millions of pounds into the channel with high wage bills for top-name presenters. The company said pre-tax losses had gone from £30.7m in the year to the end of May 2022, to £42.4m a year later.

However, the channel said its audiences had ballooned, especially online.

"The company has strong support from its investors and the directors have no reason to believe that the level of these contributions might vary to a significant degree or be recalled before the group has the resources to repay the investment," GB News said in accounts filed to Companies House.

The business said that it had an average of 295 monthly employees during the year, with its wage, social security and pension costs reaching £21.2m, or around £72,000 per head.

TalkTV will be taken off air in the summer and move online, weeks after Piers Morgan left his daily show on the channel.

Scott Taunton, TalkTV's president of broadcasting, said in a briefing to staff: "Two years ago, we would not have been brave enough to launch a channel without a linear presence, but audiences of all ages have moved fast and smartphones are now the primary device where news is consumed. We need to adapt to this as a priority. We are therefore intending that Talk comes off linear television from early summer and our focus will be on streaming."

TalkTV currently has 812,000 YouTube subscribers. Piers Morgan Uncensored has 2.4 million.

The Independent has contacted GB News for comment.

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