Ofcom: Laurence Fox’s ‘misogynistic’ remarks on Dan Wootton’s GB News show broke broadcasting rules

Side by side images of Dan Wootton and Laurence Fox during a segment on Wootton's GB News show that had, what Ofcom called, 'misogynistic' remarks by Fox

Media watchdog Ofcom has ruled that Laurence Fox’s “misogynistic” remarks about a female journalist on Dan Wootton’s GB News show broke broadcasting rules. 

The GB News segment, which aired last September, saw Fox ask on air what “self-respecting man” would “climb into bed” with reporter Ava Evans. Presenter Wootton merely smiled and laughed at Fox’s comments. 

Wootton and Fox later apologised and were suspended by the channel after the broadcast. Fox was sacked in the fallout of the backlash.

Ofcom received 8,867 complaints due to Fox’s “sexist, misogynistic and offensive” rant. 

The media regulator found Fox’s comments “constituted a highly personal attack” on Evans and were “potentially highly offensive to viewers”. As such, it found that the segment broke broadcasting rules “designed to protect viewers from offensive content”.

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

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“As such, we considered that Mr Fox’s comments were degrading and demeaning both to Ms Evans and women generally and were clearly and unambiguously misogynistic.”

When it came to Dan Wootton’s reaction, Ofcom said the presenter’s “limited challenge” to Fox “did not mitigate the potential for offence”.

Laurence Fox and Dan Wootton
Laurence Fox made his comments on Dan Wootton’s GB News show. (Credit: GB News / X / Twitter)

Instead, the watchdog believed they “exacerbated it by contributing to the narrative in which a woman’s value was judged by her physical appearance”. 

“In any event, 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,” Ofcom said. 

“We considered this indicated that GB News’ editorial control of this live programme had been inadequate.”

The incident caused immediate backlash after its broadcast on GB News last year. 

Dan Wootton issued an apology to Evans, saying he only laughed at Laurence Fox’s statements out of “shock and surprise”.

After the broadcast, MailOnline terminated its contract with Wootton, who was a columnist for the site. 

In a video on social media, Laurence Fox acknowledged his comments towards Evans during the GB News segment with Dan Wootton were “demeaning”. While he said he was “sorry” for the way he expressed himself, he said he still ‘maintained the sentiment’.