A free-to-air British TV station has suspended two of its presenters over “totally unacceptable” comments made about a female journalist during a segment on one of its primetime shows.
The station, GB News, apologized “unreservedly” and said it had launched an investigation into the comments made by presenter Laurence Fox on his colleague Dan Wootton’s show. Both Wootton and Fox would be pulled off the air, the network said.
Fox, an actor-turned-conservative activist and also leader of the right-wing Reclaim Party, was being interviewed by Wootton on the show Dan Wootton Tonight on Tuesday when he went on a shocking tirade about Ava Evans, a political correspondent for online news site Joe.
He claimed no “single self-respecting man would like to climb into bed with that woman, ever, ever.” He continued to call her a “little woman” adding it was “pathetic and embarrassing. Who’d wanna shag that?”
The comments came after Evans made an appearance on BBC’s Politics Live on Monday. She subsequently shared footage of the GB News segment, slugged “Hard-Left Commentator Slammed for Shrugging Off Male Suicide Crisis,” saying she felt “physically sick” after watching it.
Wootton, a former star reporter for British tabloid The Sun and who himself is embroiled in a bizarre sexual misconduct scandal, nodded and laughed during his guest’s comments, describing Evans as a “very beautiful woman” after Fox’s tirade.
He tweeted an apology to Evans after the show. “Dear @AvaSantina I think you’re brilliant,” he wrote. “I apologise for what was said during the course of my show and should have done this immediately on air. This is not what our channel is about.”
The network, GB News soon followed suit, posting a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, condemning Fox’s comments.
“Comments made tonight on GB News by Laurence Fox were totally unacceptable,” it said.
“What he said does not reflect our values and we apologise unreservedly for the comments and the offence they have caused. We have launched an investigation and will be apologising to the individual involved.”
Fox, meanwhile, threw Wootton under the bus, appearing to share screenshots of a text exchange in which Wootton had laughed about the segment, seemingly undercutting his public apology. “Honesty is the best policy,” Fox captioned the screenshot.
He also claimed GB News was fully aware of what he was going to say and refused to back down, writing on X: “I stand by every word of what I said.”
Fox’s acting career spanned hits including thriller The Hole alongside Thora Birch, Robert Altman’s Gosford Park, and hit TV detective drama Lewis, but he began to attract criticism after 2019 when he aired his views on a number of controversial issues including political correctness, racism, and the LGBT community.