Ofcom has launched a formal investigation into GB News after the regulator received thousands of complaints about Laurence Fox’s comments on Dan Wootton’s show on Tuesday.
The announcement came after Dan Wootton’s contract as a columnist for MailOnline was terminated, according to a spokesperson for the news website’s parent company.
In a statement, Ofcom said: “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.”
Wootton was suspended by GB News on Wednesday, after a row over comments made by actor-turned-political-activist Fox, who had been a fellow presenter for the channel.
Fox was taken off air following the remarks he made on air about female PoliticsJOE journalist Ava Evans, which have been described as “unacceptable, unjustifiable and indefensible”.
One of his comments included asking: “Who would want to shag that?”
A spokesperson for DMG Media, the parent company of MailOnline, 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.”
He had already been suspended by GB News after the episode, with the channel saying it was investigating the incident.
It came after the broadcaster said it had suspended Fox “immediately” and claimed it would be “apologising formally” to Ms Evans.
GB News said in a statement: “[We have] suspended Dan Wootton following comments made on his programme by Laurence Fox last night.
“This follows our decision earlier today to formally suspend Mr Fox.”
As Fox’s comments drew widespread condemnation, Wootton offered an apology to Ms Evans in a public post on X, formerly known as Twitter, 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…”
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 said she felt she has been put into the middle of a furore she didn’t ask to be involved in.
After the incident, she said she was “really hurt” by Fox’s comments which were about her “body rather than her work”.
Fox’s comments about Ms Evans aired on GB News following the journalist’s appearance on the BBC’s Politics Live, on which she discussed topics including mental health.
He 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”.
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,” 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?”
Ofcom has said it received a number of complaints about the incident.
“We are assessing these complaints against our broadcast rules and will publish the outcome as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson added.