Notes on Laurence Fox, Dan Wootton and Some Media Reactions

The Guardian reports on a statement from Laurence Fox, suspended from GB News after an appearance on Dan Wootton Tonight during which he disparaged joutnalist Ava Evans in crudely abusive sexual terms on live television:

In Thursday’s 15-minute video on X, Fox accused Evans of having a “dislike of men in general” and said he was angry with her about comments she had made during a BBC debate on male suicide, but apologised for “demeaning her”.

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 worldview 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.”

Apologising for making belligerent and provocative comments when that’s his whole brand is liable to be detrimental to Fox’s future – the case of Milo Yiannopoulos comes to mind.

It is also notable that he downplays what “all that sort of stuff” actually entailed. Here’s a transcript:

“…Show me a single self-respecting man that would like to climb into bed with that woman – ever – who wasn’t an incel, a cucked little incel.

“That little woman has been spoon fed oppression day after day after day, starting with the lie of the gender wage gap… Who’d want to shag that?”

Some earlier reports (including in the Guardian) unaccountably overlooked the word “cucked”, a term that denotes not just a cuckold in the ordinary sense, but a man who acquiesces in his wife’s adultery due to sexual inadequacy and a general inability to embody proper masculine attributes (as a term of disparagement against men, this also makes a mockery of Fox’s supposed concern about male suicide rates). As controversy grew on social media, Fox goaded critics by Tweeting about “the feminisation of men”. Meanwhile, GB News, likely out of fear of Ofcom censure, apologised for the broadcast.

Some of the responses to the incident are worth noting. The Daily Telegraph, which did so much to establish Fox’s reputation as a supposedly serious commentator, originally ran with the headline “GB News apologies after Laurence Fox calls reporter a ‘little woman'”, with a subheading that referred to a “series of remarks about Ava Evans”. This absurd demonstration of obtuseness was later superseded with “Laurence Fox refuses to apologise to ‘mob’ after GB News suspension”, followed by a reference to a “series of personal remarks about Ava Evans”.

Meanwhile, some of Fox’s supporters went through Ava Evans’s social media history looking for “gotchas”, and compiled a handful of old Tweets in which she had used the word “shag” into a screenshot that was then promoted by Fox himself as evidence of a double standard. In a couple of cases her Tweets were replies to other users in which she said that she wouldn’t shag them, but the original context of casual banter rather than a vicious attack was not provided. Anyone can see for themselves here and here. The false equivalence was too much for Dominique Samuels, a former GB News commentator who says she has changed her perspective after “going to the Netherlands and taking plant medicine”:

The ‘anti-woke’ political space has become so ridiculous that people honestly can’t see the difference between a detailed and hate-filled diatribe on national TV about having sex with a woman based on her political views, and a common turn of phrase used online.

Also attempting to shift the focus onto Evans’s past comments was one Connor Tomlinson, who in debate with Moya Lothian-McLean on Sky TV asserted that

Ava said women should be able to weaponise false rape allegations in order to keep men afraid of actually committing sexual assault.

Evans subsequently interpreted this to mean that she was now being accused of eoncouraging women to “file false rape allegations”, a reading which Tomlinson found objectionable. But Evans had never said anything about “weaponising” false allegations, and Tomlinson’s clarification Tweet was a tacit admission of this. Instead, he explained:

…when Isabel Oakeshott raised that concern about a young boy’s “life being ruined” with a false accusation, you said, “I like that terror. I like that. I think men should be frightened…

You stated on Piers Morgan, a year ago, that you endorsed the #MeToo paradigm which resulted in some women (Amber Heard, for example) making false accusations and destroy the lives of men, because you assessed, on the whole, that a culture of fear of these accusations was a benefit by keeping women safe.

“Weaponise false allegations” is a tenuous extroplation, and giving the impression that the phrase was a direct quote was misleading. Evans did not recognise the view attributed to her, and as such her “file false rape allegations” interpretation was reasonable (and likely to be how many viewers would have understood it). (1)

As well as the responses it’s also worth noting some non-responses within the populist conspiracy crowd. Various influencers and their associates who don’t want to defend Fox but who don’t want to burn bridges either have suddenly discovered the virtue of not expressing an opinion about everything: James Melville sniffs that “the media bubble squabbling on things that don’t matter is so tedious”.

Fox and Dan Wootton

Fox’s statement is also notable for his bitter comments about Dan Wootton, who joined GB News in issuing his own apology for the segment despite having privately messaged Fox with laughing emojis. Fox revealed that following allegations about Wootton in Byline Times (discussed here), he had given Wootton moral support every day for weeks and had provided him with “full access to free legal services” via his Bad Law Project (previously described here).  Fox added that “we” (presumably meaning the group) had organised his fundraiser, which has now not-so-mysteriously disappeared.

Wootton’s apology didn’t save him from also being suspended from GB News, and Pop Bitch carries the claim that he not only failed to respond to Fox appropriately at the time but also ignored direct instructions coming into his ear-piece. He has also now been dropped as columnist for the Daily Mail – the paper’s owners refer to “events this week”, which dodges the issue of what their ongoing investigation into older allegations may have found.

UPDATE: Fox subsequently appeared on a podcast hosted by Andrew Tate, during which he gave an aggrieved account of the incident with Ava Evans and complained more broadly about gender roles and relations in modern sociey (including his own circumstances as a divorced father). As for his apology to Evans:

When I said to her I’m sorry for, I demean myself by speaking to you in that manner – even though it was funny, fuck it, why not? – she said I cannot accept your apology.

Tate, as is well known, is currently under police investigation in Romania on allegations of rape and the sexual exploitation of women; he claims that he is innocent, and is being framed by “the Matrix”. Fox is sympathetic to this explanation, just as he has expressed scepticism about the allegations against Russell Brand. However, even leaving aside the criminal charges, there is no argument over Tate’s history of unambiguous and coarsely expressed misogyny. He openly boasts about using predatory seduction techniques to recruit women into webcam work, and he has even filmed himself engaging in sadistic sexual role-play.

Despite all this, Tate enjoys links with prominent US conservatives, and he has made appearances on GB News. There has, though, been one dissenting conservative voice in the UK, warning that “enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend” and objecting to Tate receiving “reputation management” from the likes of Candace Owens. That caution and complaint come from none other than Fox’s close associate Calvin Robinson.


(1) Tomlinson’s main platform is Carl Benjamin’s anti-feminist Lotus Eaters podcast – back in March he used the show to interview Fox’s close associate Calvin Robinson on the subject of “how to fix modern women”. Robinson is ordained as a deacon in a fringe off-shoot of the Church of England; he recently made an appearance on Fox News on the subject of how Christians cannot hold progressive views, as a result of which he received an endorsement from Franklin Graham.

One Response

  1. You’ve become the Star of the Interweb!

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