Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

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The female journalist who was the subject of “unacceptable” comments about her appearance on GB News has hit out at the channel’s “antiquated” approach.

Speaking on Dan Wootton Tonight on Tuesday, actor-turned-politician Laurence Fox made a series of remarks about Ava Evans, including: “Who would want to shag that?”

GB News apologised in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, a few hours later and said it has launched an investigation.

Read more: What Laurence Fox said – in full

Presenter Wootton, who appeared to laugh during some of the segment, was suspended by the broadcaster on Wednesday, along with Fox.

“I just feel I’ve been put into the middle of a furore and a story that I didn’t ask to be put into,” Ms Evans said during a podcast with news outlet JOE, where she works as a political correspondent.

“I just think it speaks to a wider power dynamic that is sort of falling away now but definitely used to be there in the last few years.

“It’s like an antiquated practice of not being able to properly challenge a woman on her words and so just going for her level of attractiveness.”

She criticised the channel for having an “entire gallery of people watching it go out who did nothing from the viewer’s perspective to stop it”.

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‘I didn’t ask to be put into this story’

Wootton has apologised for the remarks, saying he “regretted” the interview, but Ms Evans said she does not want to hear from him after he called her “multiple times”.

“I was getting calls up until 1am, voicemails… I don’t want to hear from him. This is actually nothing to do with me,” she said.

“This is a network problem, this is a presenter, guest, gallery, production issue that is nothing to do with me.

“I just so happen to be the person they’re talking about but I’m not in the conversation… it’s not to do with me and that’s what makes me feel most sick about it.”

Fox has refused to apologise and appeared to suggest GB News was aware of what he was roughly going to say in advance.

Ms Evans referred to this on the podcast – that “we’ve now come to find out… that was actually pre-agreed with producers” and that “he was going to talk about my looks”.

GB News, in its initial statement, said it will be apologising to Ms Evans for the “unacceptable” comments – and Ms Evans said she received a “very gracious email” from the editor, which she’d been waiting for “all day”.

“It was an email from the editor – a very gracious email – basically telling me that what Fox said was not representative of the rest of the GB News outfit,” she told the BBC Newscast podcast.

“That’s actually probably the best apology I could have gotten. Honestly, not to cast doubt on our media landscape, but I didn’t actually think anything was going to happen.

“I don’t want to say I’m pleased by it. I just think that’s probably the best outcome I could have hoped for.”

Asked if she accepted the apology, she said she’s waiting to see “how the investigation goes”.

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Broadcaster GB News says it has suspended presenter Dan Wootton following on-air comments made by co-presenter Laurence Fox.

‘Are they just looking at me… physically?’

Earlier on Wednesday, Ms Evans said she is “really hurt” by Fox’s comments, which were about her “body rather than her work”.

Ms Evans told Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine show: “I’m really hurt by it… I’m shocked about by it, I’m shocked that it went out.

“Do you know this is the sort of talk that you worry that men have about you when you’re not in the room.

“There is always sort of a worry in the back of your mind which is: ‘Are people actually interested in what I’m saying or what I’m doing?’

“Or are they just looking at me… physically and I think that that clip proves that there are some men who are.”

She also said: “I’m actually a journalist rather than a commentator and I’d much rather be judged or asked about my work… than have people talking about my body.”

What exactly did Fox say?

In the clip, he 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.

“That little woman has been fed… spoon-fed oppression day after day, after day, starting with the lie about the gender pay gap.

“She’s sat there, and I’m going like, if I met you at a bar and that was like sentence three, chances of me just walking away are just huge.

“We need powerful, strong, amazing women who make great points for themselves. We don’t need these feminist 4.0.

“They’re pathetic and embarrassing. Who’d want to shag that?”

Read more:
‘Unacceptable’ comments in full and reaction to his suspension
Who is Laurence Fox – and what controversies has he faced?

Ms Evans had shared the clip on Tuesday in the hours after it aired, with a caption saying: “Laurence Fox just did a whole speech on GB News on why men apparently won’t shag me?”

She added in a follow-up post the footage made her feel “physically sick”.

Meanwhile, media regulator Ofcom said it has received “a number of complaints” about the comments.

“We are assessing these complaints against our broadcast rules and will publish the outcome as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson added.

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