GB News, Laurence Fox show breached Ofcom rules

A segment featuring Dan Wootton of Clines to broadcasting regulations, as determined by media regulator Ofcom, tonight on GB News.

The remarks made by Laurence Fox regarding Ava Evans, a female political journalist, during the program, generated 8,867 complaints that were directed to Ofcom.

His remarks were deemed sexist, misogynistic, and objectionable by the audience.

His remarks, according to Ofcom, comprised a profoundly personal attack on Ms. Evans and had the potential to offend viewers to a high degree.

In addition, the broadcasting regulator expressed grave concerns regarding GB News’ editorial control of its live programming and demanded that the channel furnish additional information regarding its compliance procedures in this regard.

During a live program on September 26, Fox, an actor-turned-politician, faced censure for her question regarding the type of “self-respecting man” who would “climb into bed” with her.

Throughout Fox’s remarks, Wootton could be seen grinning and laughing. She then added, for “a touch of balance,” that Evans had qualified her remarks by referring to her as a “very beautiful woman.”

Ofcom Condemns GB News for Sexist Remarks

Ofcom stated in its ruling that [the remarks] diminished her professional capacity as a political journalist’s contribution to a broadcast discussion on mental health to a judgment on whether she or women who publicly expressed their political views, similar to herself, were sexually desirable to men.

Therefore, we concluded that Mr. Fox’s remarks were denigrating and degrading in nature, directed at Ms. Evans and women in general, and were unequivocally and conspicuously biased against women.

Ofcom further stated that Mr. Wootton’s response and lack of opposition “exacerbated the potential for the offense by reinforcing the narrative that a woman’s worth was determined solely by her physical appearance.”

It went on to say that in the two-hour program that followed the interview with Mr. Fox, neither an apology nor any other editorial techniques were implemented to address the potential for offense.

GB News suspended both presenters from the channel in response to the remarks, deeming the insults “completely unacceptable.”

Wootton, who had contributed a column to the newspaper since 2021, was terminated “in light of recent events.”

As of September, the 41-year-old remains suspended from GB News, whereas Mr. Fox was terminated.

Evans, the political correspondent for PoliticsJOE, issued a statement in which she expressed “pleasure” that Ofcom had acknowledged the misogynistic nature of the remarks made.

She stated, “My journalism is susceptible to criticism, which is vital in a free and fair society; however, such comments stifle substantive discourse and discourage young women from pursuing journalism as a profession.” That is to the detriment of all of us.

She further stated that Ofcom must have the ability to “impose substantial sanctions for such conduct, rather than merely reprimanding its offenders if they refuse to alter their conduct.”

Evans stated that she found the remarks “repugnant” at the time, and she has since received threats online, including one that instructed her to “watch her back.”

Following this, she demanded that Conservative MPs cease their appearances on GB News.

GB News features programming from several current and former Conservative Members of Parliament, one of whom is Lee Anderson, a former deputy chair of the party who is now serving as an independent MP following the withdrawal of the whip.

The regulator stated that it is also investigating several other complaints, including whether Nigel Farage violated regulations requiring impartial presentation of news and current affairs during a January program on GB News.

Twelve investigations remained unresolved, Ofcom confirmed in September, regarding GB News, which debuted with the pledge to “transform the face of news and debate in the United Kingdom.”

The investigation into Wootton’s program was initiated by Ofcom by rule 2.3 of the Broadcasting Code, which requires broadcasters to justify offensive content by considering its contextual relevance.

It was the most complained-about episode to air in 2023.

Ofcom has requested that GB News “attend a meeting at our offices” for the second time. The initial request was submitted in May 2023, after Ofcom’s discovery that the broadcaster had violated regulations by airing “unopposed” assertions from guest Dr. Naomi Wolf regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.

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