Ofcom launches investigation into Dan Wootton's GB News programme after thousands of complaints

Credit: PA

Ofcom has launched an investigation into Tuesday's episode of Dan Wootton Tonight on GB News, over comments made by the programme's guest Laurence Fox about journalist Ava Evans.

It comes after MailOnline earlier on Thursday terminated its contract with Wootton - who is a columnist for the website.

The regulator said it had received around 7,300 complaints about the programme since it aired, and that it was investigating under Rule 2.3 of the Broadcasting Code.

Rule 2.3 states when "applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context".

Ofcom chief executive Dame Melanie Dawes said: "Over the last few days there has been speculation and commentary about our role as the independent broadcast regulator. These are important issues and I wanted to be clear about our rules.

"Parliament sets objectives on how the broadcast sector should be regulated. We set and enforce rules to achieve these objectives.

"Contrary to some claims, these rules remain unchanged."

A spokesperson for DMG Media, the parent company of MailOnline, said: "Following events this week, DMG Media can confirm that Dan Wootton’s freelance column with MailOnline - which had already been paused - has now been terminated, along with his contract."

In August, Wootton - who was suspended on Wednesday from his role as executive editor and presenter of GB News show Dan Wootton Tonight - had been the focus of allegations that he paid money for videos of sexual activity during his time as former executive editor of The Sun and showbiz journalist.

The 40-year-old had a twice-weekly column for the MailOnline since 2021, but it has not been published since the allegations were made public.

GB News suspended Wootton and Fox in the wake of the latter's comments, which have been described as "unacceptable, unjustifiable and indefensible".

Actor-turned-politician Fox made a series of remarks about political correspondent Ava-Santina Evans, which included asking "who would want to sh*g that?" during a discussion on his show.

During the exchange, Wootton was heard laughing after Fox said: "We're past the watershed so I can say this: show me a single self-respecting man that would like to climb into bed with that woman, ever, ever, who wasn't an incel?"

Ms Evans has since said she had received an apology from the broadcaster.

Wootton, meanwhile, has apologised "unreservedly" for a "very unfortunate lapse in judgment" in a follow-up post to an earlier apology, which suggested he should have apologised for what was said during the broadcast.

Speaking about the impact of the comments on Good Morning Britain on Thursday, Ms Evans said: "I'm deeply embarrassed by all of it and I’m appreciative for everyone who has very kindly stood up for me, but it's sort of the other side of it, which is half of the comments are very lovely and supportive, and the other side are very threatening."

“[They say] I'm somehow part of this global agenda that is trying to bring down men and I hate all men and therefore I need to watch my back and be very careful because there are certain people who now are threatening to come after me.

"It feels ridiculous even saying it [but] my direct messages on social media are full of people threatening me."

Wootton is known for his role in breaking the story of Megxit - the withdrawal of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from royal duties, when he worked for The Sun.

After leaving the tabloid, Wootton became a presenter at GB News and columnist for MailOnline, owned by DMG Media, which is also a publisher of the Daily Mail newspaper.

Wootton has also previously appeared as a showbiz presenter on the ITV Breakfast show Lorraine.

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