- Laurence Fox was suspended from GB News after he made the vulgar remarks
Laurence Fox tonight apologised for his ‘demeaning’ sexist rant about political journalist Ava Evans in a Twitter video – before insisting that ‘any self-respecting man should run a mile from’ her.
The actor-turned-activist sparked a backlash after making a series of remarks about political correspondent Ms Evans, which included asking ‘who would want to sh*g that?’ during a discussion on Dan Wootton Tonight on Tuesday.
Fox said he was angry with Ms Evans over comments she made on a BBC debate around male suicide and alleged she had a ‘dislike of men in general’, but apologised for ‘demeaning her’.
Addressing the situation in a video posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, he said: ‘If I was going to be sensible and I could replay it, I would say: ‘Any self-respecting man in 2023 would probably be well advised to avoid a woman who possessed that world view because she would probably cause him nothing but harm’.
‘But what I did say was, you know, ‘I wouldn’t shag that’, and all that sort of stuff, which is not right. It’s demeaning to her, 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.’
He also said he expected to be sacked by GB News on Friday over the incident, adding: ‘I know I’m going to get sacked tomorrow. I’m saying this stuff to clear my own conscience.’
Speaking of GB News’ role, Fox added: ‘GB News have opened themselves up for complete destruction, as far as I can tell, because they branded themselves as the home of free speech. Now, if you’re the home of free speech then what they could easily have done was say ‘Look what Laurence said was appalling, reprehensible but he’s got the right to say it, it’s is his opinion. Could he have expressed it better? Yes’.’
He said that he feels the channel is ‘actually the home of cancel culture, and they’re probably more at risk of cancel culture than any other channel’.
The exchange saw both Fox and Wootton suspended from the channel while an internal investigation takes place. Media watchdog Ofcom has also launched a probe into the channel after it received 7,300 complaints from viewers.
Laurence Fox has apologised for his ‘demeaning’, sexist rant about political journalist Ava Evans – before insisting ‘any self-respecting man should run a mile from’ her
The discussion came after Ava Evans (pictured) appeared on BBC ‘s Politics Live on Monday
Fox said: ‘The point I should have made is men who are men – traditionally stoic men – should probably avoid women who don’t like them very much and who dismiss male suicide, tweeting things like I want to be socially distanced from men and wear a mask against the threat of men.
‘Any self respecting man of 2023 would be well advised to avoid a woman who holds that worldview because she probably will cause him nothing but harm.
‘I did say I wouldn’t sh*g and it’s not right and it was demeaning to Ava, so I am sorry to offend you in that way.’
The suspended presenter went on to add that he was not making the apology to clear his name because he already knows he’s ‘going to get sacked tomorrow’, adding that he wanted to ‘clear’ his ‘conscience’.
Laurence Fox (right) spoke about Ava Evans during Dan Wootton (left) Tonight on Tuesday
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
Closing his video, Fox once again spoke about Ms Evans, he said: ‘To get us out of this problem where we have a lot of weak men, we need some strong men, and in my cack-handed way I was trying to make the point that any self respecting men should run a mile from Ava, which with all due respect, I stand by.
‘I think what I am trying to say is that I could have expressed it in a better way.’
Evans revealed that she had faced direct threats on social media and had been told to ‘watch my back’ following Fox’s comments.
She added that there are ‘certain people who are now threatening to come after me’ following his rant on Wootton’s show.
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’.
Evans added: ‘Half of the comments are very lovely and supportive, and then the other side are very threatening.
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, 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.
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
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.
Caroline Nokes, the Commons Women and Equalities Committee chair, told the BBC’s Newsnight that there is a ‘really serious case to answer’ following the Laurence Fox comments
‘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.’
Fox’s remarks are the second most complained about moment on UK television this year, behind Bridgerton star Adjoa Andoh comment the Buckingham Palace balcony was ‘terribly white’ during the King’s coronation in May, which led to 8,000 complaints.
Ofcom is now investigating whether GB News broke the Broadcasting Code for standards by allowing Fox’s outburst on air.
Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom chief executive, 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.
‘They are 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.
‘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.’
A spokesperson for dmg media 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.’
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