Journalist Ava Evans slams GB News for allowing suspended host Laurence Fox to make derogatory remarks about her on its channel as 'it's not acceptable for broadcasters to act like that'

  • Post category:news
  • Reading time:14 min(s) read

  • Journalist Ava Evans has had threats on social media and told to ‘watch my back’
  • GB News has suspended Dan Wootton and Laurence Fox after sexual comments

The female journalist whom Laurence Fox said he would not want to ‘sh*g’ on GB News has insisted it is ‘not acceptable for broadcasters to act like that’.

Ava Evans, the political correspondent for news website Joe, revealed she has faced threats in direct messages on social media and been told to ‘watch my back’ following the comments from the actor-turned-activist. 

She added that there are ‘certain people who are now threatening to come after me’ after Fox’s vulgar outburst on an episode of Dan Wootton Tonight on Tuesday.

Ms Evans was targeted after telling the BBC’s Politics Live that the idea of a minister for men would ‘feed into the culture war’.

Reacting to her comments on GB News, Fox asked ‘who would want to sh*g that?’, adding: ‘What self-respecting man [would] climb into bed [with] that woman?’

Fox and Wootton have now been suspended by the channel while it carries out an investigation – and media regulator Ofcom has also launched a probe.

Ava Evans, political correspondent for news website Joe, on ITV's Good Morning Britain today

Ava Evans, political correspondent for news website Joe, on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today

Ava Evans (left) speaks to Good Morning Britain hosts Ben Shephard and Susanna Reid

Ava Evans (left) speaks to Good Morning Britain hosts Ben Shephard and Susanna Reid

Laurence Fox (right) spoke about Ava Evans during Dan Wootton (left) Tonight on Tuesday

Laurence Fox (right) spoke about Ava Evans during Dan Wootton (left) Tonight on Tuesday

Last night, Ava Evans tweeted a picture drinking a pint at the Bethnal Green Tavern in East London, along with the caption: ‘Me reading your libellous tweets.’

Today she told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that she was ‘deeply embarrassed by all of it’ and appreciated ‘everyone who has very kindly stood up for me’.

She added: ‘Half of the comments are very lovely and supportive, and then the other side are very threatening.

GB News must not be cancelled over Laurence Fox row, says host Mark Dolan 

Mark Dolan on GB News last night

Mark Dolan on GB News last night

GB News has learned a ‘hard lesson’ after ‘offensive’ comments were made on-air by Laurence Fox – but the channel must not be cancelled, a presenter has said.

Covering the 9pm slot on GB News yesterday evening, Mark Dolan condemned Fox’s ‘offensive comments’ about Ms Evans.

He said: ‘Whether Laurence should stay on air is not my decision and Dan’s absence tonight is also beyond my control. There is an investigation ongoing, but the comments made by Laurence in my view were sexist, misogynistic and, unusually, in the frenzied climate of the so-called culture wars, have been condemned across the political spectrum from left and right.’

But he went on to warn that GB News must not be cancelled in the wake of Fox’s comments.

‘Where possible, we seek to play the ball, not the man, or in this case, the woman,’ Dolan said. ‘We don’t always achieve that. Unfortunately, this awful episode plays into the hands of our critics, the people who would love to see the back of GB News. That mustn’t happen.’

The presenter said the channel is ‘rewriting the rulebook’ on current affairs broadcasting and garnering a ‘fast growing and incredibly loyal audience’.

‘Whilst we’re here for the many people in this country, who feel they do not have a voice, the truth is, we’re here for everyone,’ he continued. ‘People are coming to us in their numbers across all political colours, because they want a different angle, a different approach and they want debate. They want a diversity of opinion and they want it done with wit and wisdom.

‘Fiery and good humoured, but respectful and fair too, that is the GB News way. We didn’t have that last night. In the end, a hard lesson has been learned. We have freedom of speech, but not freedom from the fallout.’

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‘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.

‘Sorry, it feels ridiculous even saying it. But my direct messages on social media are full of people threatening me.’

Asked by host Susanna Reid whether she had reported the threats to police, Ms Evans said: ‘I haven’t yet. It’s only been a day and I’m still sort of trying to get my head around all of it.

‘But, I mean, reading them, it’s just honestly astounding. Most of the time I cover trade unions and picket lines, and now I feel like I’ve been thrown into something that is just so ridiculous and hyperbolic and nothing to do with me really.’

She added that the suspension of Fox and Wootton along with the investigation launched by GB News was a ‘good outcome’ yesterday.

But she added: ‘I would just quite like for there to be a precedent set here going forward with broadcasting where that is not acceptable and I want other young producers who might have been sitting in the gallery to feel – not empowered, that’s a silly word – but maybe to have the confidence to call that out in future and know that it’s not acceptable for broadcasters to act like that.’

Ms Evans was also asked whether it was appropriate for Conservative MPs to continue appearing on GB News.

Philip Davies, Lee Anderson, Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and Esther McVey are among the politicians who host shows on the channel.

Ms Evans said: ‘I think what’s important is a lot of presenters and producers spoke publicly yesterday about how they don’t align themselves with those views, but I didn’t hear that from any of the elected Members of Parliament that sit on that channel.

‘And so if you’re not going to say anything and you’re going to continue broadcasting on it, it’s almost as if you’ve accepted it… You’re saying that it’s perfectly reasonable to profess what Laurence Fox did that night.’

Sir Jacob said yesterday that he had not seen the comments by Fox, adding: ‘I understand he has been suspended from GB News and we can see the outcome of that, but no I don’t know the details.’

However, Mr Davies criticise the outburst, saying: ‘Laurence Fox’s disgraceful remarks were completely unacceptable, unjustifiable and indefensible.’

Wootton, who appeared to laugh when Fox made the remarks, said his ‘inappropriate’ reaction was a ‘very unfortunate lapse in judgment’.

Covering the 9pm slot on GB News yesterday evening, Mark Dolan referenced Fox making ‘offensive comments’ about Ms Evans.

He said: ‘Whether Laurence should stay on air is not my decision and Dan’s absence tonight is also beyond my control.

‘There is an investigation ongoing, but the comments made by Laurence in my view were sexist, misogynistic and, unusually, in the frenzied climate of the so-called culture wars, have been condemned across the political spectrum from left and right.’ 

Ava Evans tweeted a picture of her drinking a pint at the Bethnal Green Tavern in East London yesterday evening with the caption: 'Me reading your libellous tweets'

Ava Evans tweeted a picture of her drinking a pint at the Bethnal Green Tavern in East London yesterday evening with the caption: ‘Me reading your libellous tweets’

Ava Evans also appeared on Channel 5's Jeremy Vine show yesterday to discuss the row

Ava Evans also appeared on Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine show yesterday to discuss the row 

It comes after Ava Evans made comments about men's mental health and suicide on the BBC's Politics Live on Monday, in which she dismissed calls for a dedicated minister on the issue

It comes after Ava Evans made comments about men’s mental health and suicide on the BBC’s Politics Live on Monday, in which she dismissed calls for a dedicated minister on the issue

What did Laurence Fox say on GB News?

Laurence Fox: ‘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?

‘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.

‘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 sh*g that?’

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Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said Ofcom had to look into GB News after the ‘unacceptable and disgraceful’ on-air behaviour of Wootton and Fox, adding that the regulator had to take the response to the ‘next stage’.

She told Sky News’ Politics Hub: ‘Ofcom really do need to look at this. I was quite shocked and taken aback by the level of the comments made and the response of Dan on that show.

‘It was completely unacceptable. I’m glad that GB News took decisive action and suspended both of them quickly today, but there needs to be the next stage now and Ofcom really needs to be looking at this.’

But the Tory MP said she would not ‘boycott’ the broadcaster, arguing it was an ‘isolated incident’ and not ‘a symptom of a broader problem at all’.

She said GB News needs to learn ‘big lessons’ such as ‘why was this ever viewed as acceptable in modern Britain’, and investigate whether the conversation had been ‘pre-agreed’. 

Tory MP Caroline Nokes, who chairs the Commons Women and Equalities Committee, said that the regulator must investigate the ‘blatantly misogynistic, outdated, hideous attitudes’.

She told BBC Newsnight: ‘I think there is a really serious case to answer and I hope that Ofcom can conclude its investigations as swiftly as possible.’

Ms Evans shared a clip of the comments on X, which has since been viewed millions of times

Ms Evans shared a clip of the comments on X, which has since been viewed millions of times

The discussion came after Ava Evans (pictured) appeared on BBC 's Politics Live on Monday

The discussion came after Ava Evans (pictured) appeared on BBC ‘s Politics Live on Monday

Laurence Fox: From screen actor to founder of the Reclaim Party

Actor Laurence Fox rose to fame through various acting roles and is most well-known for portraying DS James Hathaway in the long-running TV series Lewis, which came to an end in 2015.

The actor, 45, has credits in films that include the 2001 production of Gosford Park, the 2007 TV movie A Room With A View and the recent 2022 film My Son Hunter, in which he plays the lead role of Hunter, the son of American president Joe Biden.

Born into an acting dynasty, Fox is related to a slew of famous thespians, including his cousin Freddie Fox, who starred in the 2011 film The Three Musketeers and Netflix series The Crown, playing former prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s son Mark.

Laurence Fox married fellow thespian Billie Piper in 2007 and the pair split in 2016

Laurence Fox married fellow thespian Billie Piper in 2007 and the pair split in 2016

Sister to Freddie and cousin to Laurence is Emilia Fox, known for her role as Dr Nikki Alexander in BBC TV series Silent Witness.

The trio are grandchildren to actor and theatrical agent Robin Fox whose son James is father to Laurence and has starred in Downton Abbey, Sherlock Holmes, Midsomer Murders and New Tricks, among other TV series.

Fox married fellow thespian and Doctor Who star Billie Piper in 2007 and the pair split in 2016. They have two sons together, Winston and Eugene.

Fox has credits in films that include the 2007 TV movie A Room With A View

Fox has credits in films that include the 2007 TV movie A Room With A View

In 2020, Fox appeared on BBC Question Time and was involved in a debate over Meghan Markle, white male privilege and racism which led to the actor saying he would take a break from social media.

Following his appearance, the actor founded political party the Reclaim Party in October 2020, and the website says he did so after his appearance led to him being ‘cancelled’ from his acting career.

After he set up the Reclaim Party, Fox unsuccessfully stood for London mayor during the mayoral election of 2021.

Fox appeared on BBC Question Time in 2020 and was in a debate over Meghan Markle, white male privilege and racism

Fox appeared on BBC Question Time in 2020 and was in a debate over Meghan Markle, white male privilege and racism

His manifesto included promises to deliver ‘free travel on the Tubes and buses for six months’ and ‘tough New York style community policing to target petty crime’.

According to the Reclaim Party website, the party exists ‘for patriotism and believes hard work should be rewarded.’

Reclaim is strongly associated with the ‘culture wars’ and Fox has previously expressed scepticism about the Covid vaccine and opposed lockdowns during the pandemic.

Fox has been a presenter on GB News and according to the broadcaster’s website he ‘tackles the issues of the day’ with a ‘unique and outgoing style’.

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Ofcom said it has received ‘a number of complaints’ about Fox’s remarks, adding: ‘We are assessing these complaints against our broadcast rules and will publish the outcome as quickly as possible.’

During the exchange on Tuesday, Fox was asked about Ms Evans’ critical comments about suggestions there should be a minister for men to address mental ill health.

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

Wootton was seen to laugh after Fox said: ‘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.

‘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 sh*g that?’

Wootton, a former executive editor at The Sun, offered ‘a touch of balance’, saying that Ms Evans expressed regret at her comments ‘but she didn’t apologise… and she’s a very beautiful woman, Laurence… very beautiful woman’.

Ms Evans said Fox’s comments made her feel ‘physically sick’.

She told the BBC Newscast podcast she had received an apology from GB News, but had not decided whether to accept it, adding: ‘Let’s just see how the investigation goes.’

Wootton said through his lawyer that ‘he remains sincere in his desire to apologise personally’ to Ms Evans.

After the show, GB News described Fox’s comments as ‘totally unacceptable’, adding: ‘What he said does not reflect our values and we apologise unreservedly for the comments and the offence they have caused.’

Wootton apologised, saying that he can see how ‘inappropriate my reaction to his totally unacceptable remarks appears to be and want to be clear that I was in no way amused by the comments’.

He said he had reacted ‘out of shock and surprise in an off-guard moment while working out how to respond’.

He added: ‘I apologise unreservedly for what was a very unfortunate lapse in judgment on my part under the intense pressure of a bizarre exchange. I know I should have done better. I’m devastated that I let down the team and our supportive GBN family.’

However the apology sparked a row with Fox who revealed messages online which suggesting he and Wootton had shared laughing emojis about the incident in private.

Saying ‘honesty is the best policy’, he published a messenger dialogue that began with: ‘Making you giggle is my weekly joy.’

The response followed: ‘You can imagine them freaking out in the gallery!!!!!’

Fox also claimed in the series of tweets that he had done a ‘pre-interview’ with the channel ‘so they knew exactly what I intended to say’.

The 45-year-old, whose previous acting credits include Gosford Park and Elizabeth: The Golden Age, said he stands ‘by every word of what I said’.

He founded the Reclaim Party in October 2020 after an appearance on the BBC’s news panel show Question Time earlier that year, which the actor said resulted in him being ‘cancelled from a 21-year acting career’.

According to its website, the party exists to challenge ‘woke orthodoxy’ and promote ‘freedom of speech’, which it views as being ‘under grave peril’.

Last month the publishers of MailOnline said that they had paused Wootton’s freelance column for the website following historical allegations that he had used a pseudonym and offered money for sexual material to colleagues while working for another media group – claims he has strongly denied.




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