Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

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Laurence Fox has apologised to journalist Ava Evans over his comments on GB News.

In a 15-minute mea culpa, the actor-turned-political-activist said his comments were “demeaning” and “not representative of who I am”.

However, Fox said he maintained “the sentiment” of his comments, saying he was angry about what he said was Ms Evans demeaning male suicide.

During those comments about Ms Evans – a journalist for the website PoliticsJOE – he asked host Dan Wootton: “Who would want to shag that?”

In the video, posted on his account on X, formerly known as Twitter, he said: “I could have and should have expressed it better.

“It’s not right, it’s demeaning to Ava, so I’m sorry for demeaning you in that way, however angry I am with you still for doing that, and it demeans me because it’s not representative of who I am.

“I’m not saying any of this stuff because I know I’m going to get sacked tomorrow. I’m saying it to clear my own conscience.”

He added: “I express my apology to Ava for the language used, but I maintain the sentiment.”

Ava Evans
Image:
Ava Evans

It comes after media regulator Ofcom launched a formal investigation into GB News after it received thousands of complaints about Fox’s comments on Wootton’s show on Tuesday.

Fox was suspended by GB News following the remarks about Ms Evans, which have been described as “unacceptable, unjustifiable and indefensible”.

Wootton’s contract as a columnist for MailOnline was also terminated on Thursday, according to a spokesperson for the news website’s parent company, DMG Media.

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Ofcom: Misogyny a ‘real issue’

Read more:
Reaction and what Fox said – in full
Who is Laurence Fox?
Ofcom chief says there are ‘real issues around misogyny’

As Fox’s comments drew widespread condemnation, Wootton offered an apology to Ms Evans in a public post on X, in which he described the reporter as “brilliant”.

He apologised “unreservedly” for what was said during the show and conceded he should have done this immediately on air.

Wootton, who could be seen laughing as Fox made his remarks, reiterated his “regret” over the incident in another social media post on Wednesday morning “having looked at the footage” of what he described as a “bizarre exchange”.

“I should have intervened immediately,” he said, adding: “I know I should have done better. I’m devastated…”

In his video, Fox accused Wootton of throwing him “under the bus” with the comments.

Fox also said he was “99.999% sure” that both he and Wootton were going to be “sacked” by GB News on Friday, adding: “Or certainly they are going to sack me.”

Former News of the World showbusiness editor, Dan Wootton, arrives to give evidence at the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the media, at the High Court in London February 6, 2012. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett (BRITAIN - Tags: MEDIA CRIME LAW SOCIETY)
Image:
Dan Wootton

The row started after Fox said on GB News: “Show me a single self-respecting man that would like to climb into bed with that woman, ever, ever, who wasn’t an incel?”

“That little woman has been fed… spoon-fed oppression day after day after day… starting with the lie of the gender wage gap, and she’s sat there and I’m going, if I met you in a bar and that was like sentence three, chances of me just walking away are just huge,” Fox added.

“We need powerful, strong, amazing women who make great points for themselves, we don’t need these sort of feminist 4.0… they’re pathetic and embarrassing. Who would want to shag that?”

The comments were aired live on GB News following Ms Evans’s appearance on the BBC’s Politics Live show, where she discussed topics including mental health.

Fox was asked about Ms Evans’ critical comments about suggestions there should be a minister for men to address mental health.

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‘I object to what Laurence Fox said, but he should be allowed to say it’

After the incident, Ms Evans said she was “really hurt” by Fox’s comments, which were about her “body rather than her work”.

She later said her remarks on the BBC were “a little rash” and said she was “actually very interested in a brief for a minister on young men’s mental health”.

Ofcom announced on Thursday that it was launching an investigation into Fox’s comments.

The regulator said in a statement: “We have launched an investigation into GB News under our rules on offence, after receiving around 7,300 complaints about Tuesday’s episode of Tonight with Dan Wootton.”

Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom’s chief executive, said the regulator’s rules were “designed to protect audiences from offensive and harmful material, and to uphold the integrity of broadcast news and current affairs programming, while always ensuring that freedom of expression is front and centre in every decision we take”.

“This is highly valued by audiences and central to our democracy,” she added.

“The decisions we take, always based on facts and evidence once a programme has aired, are vital if we are to protect our vibrant media landscape. We continue to apply and enforce these rules without fear or favour.”

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