Ofcom Rules GB News Breached Broadcasting Rules

Ofcom condemns GB News show for breaching broadcasting rules after Laurence Fox’s sexist remarks prompt widespread backlash, highlighting broader concerns about editorial control at the right wing news channel. Here’s the full story. 

Rocky Start

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The hedge fund-owned GB News channel got off to a rocky start when it launched but has now grown and metastasized into becoming the UK’s right-wing news channel.

Fox News With Tea

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Set up to be a copy of Fox News’ partisan programming but with a British twist, the channel now employs sitting Conservative MPs such as Jacob Rees-Mogg as part of its everyday programming.


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However, unlike conventional news channels, much of what is aired on GB News has a distinctly right-leaning ideology underpinning its programming. 


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This has brought the channel into frequent conflict with the UK’s media regulator, Ofcom.

Breach of Rules

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The latest GB News output to come under fire from the media regulator is an episode of Dan Wootton Tonight, which Ofcom has said breached their broadcasting rules.

Laurence Fox

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The controversy arose from comments by failed actor turned right-wing agitator Laurence Fox, who insulted journalist Ava Evans on the show.

Thousands of Complaints

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Fox’s outburst led to thousands of complaints and raised several serious concerns about the channel’s apparent lack of editorial control. 

Breaking Point

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Fox’s comments stretched the idea of GB News having anything to do with news to incredulity. 

Sexist Rant

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During a live show on 26th September, Laurence Fox went on a sexist rant, questioning which “self respecting man” would engage with Evans.

Offensive and Misogynistic 

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Fox’s comments prompted an outcry over the offensive and misogynistic comments he made live on air.

“Highly Personal Attack”

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Ofcom clearly condemned that Fox’s rant “constituted a highly personal attack on Ms Evans and were potentially highly offensive to viewers.”

Off Topic

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Ofcom also drew attention to the inappropriateness of the personal attack, considering the nature of the discussion on the show at the time. 

Journalism’s Not Sexy

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Ofcom stated that Fox’s comments “reduced her contribution to a broadcast discussion on mental health – in her professional capacity as a political journalist – to a judgment on whether she, or women like her who publicly expressed their political opinions, were sexually desirable to men.”

“Degrading and Demeaning”

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They continued: “As such, we considered that Mr Fox’s comments were degrading and demeaning both to Ms Evans and women generally and were clearly and unambiguously misogynistic.”

Smiling and Laughing

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Throughout Fox’s rant, the show’s host, Dan Wootton, was seen smiling and laughing, failing to challenge Fox on his comments or attempt to mitigate their offensive potential. 

“No Apology”

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Ofcom also criticized Wootton, noting that “no apology was made after the interview with Mr Fox in the remainder of the two-hour programme – nor were any other editorial techniques used to address the potential for offence.”

Sexist Trope

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Ofcom also called out Wootton for perpetuating the sexist trope that a woman’s worth is tied solely to her physical appearance. 

“Totally Unacceptable”

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In response to the controversy, GB News suspended both presenters from the channel, denouncing the insults as “totally unacceptable.”


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Additionally, the publisher of MailOnline, where Wootton had written a weekly column, also sacked him following the incident. 

“Stifle Meaningful Debate”

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Ava Evans, the journalist whom Fox had recklessly attacked, welcomes Ofcom’s ruling, stating, “My journalism is open to criticism, and it’s important that takes place in a free and fair society, but remarks of this nature only serve to stifle meaningful debate and dissuade young women from choosing journalism as a career. That is to all of our detriment.” 

Slap on the Wrist

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Evans also called for Ofcom to “impose meaningful sanctions for conduct of this kind, not just slap its perpetrators on the wrist, should they be unwilling to change their behavior.”

Calls for Boycott

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Considering that this is not the first scandal involving GB News in the short span of its existence, Evans has urged Conservative MPs to reconsider their appearances on the channel. 

Questions Asked

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As several sitting and former Tory MPs host programs on GB News, questions about their association with a platform under scrutiny for breaching broadcasting rules are beginning to be asked.

Nigel Farage

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Other Ofcom investigations of the channel include investigating whether Nigel Farage violated rules on due impartiality in January. 

More Robust

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However, critics have pointed out that many investigations are proceeding slowly and that Ofcom needs to be more robust as a regulator. 

The Cycle Continues

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GB News understands its place in the UK’s media ecosystem. They generate outrage; outrage generates headlines; headlines drive viewers to their channel, and their ratings increase. 

News as Entertainment

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Following such a blatant “news as entertainment” business model means that this will likely not be the last time Ofcom has to step in to moderate GB News’s content.

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The post Ofcom Rules GB News Breached Broadcasting Rules first appeared on Pulse365 Limited.

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