GB News has suspended host Laurence Fox after he denigrated a journalist and asked what “self-respecting man” would “climb into bed” with her.
His comments were made in a live discussion after PoliticsJOE reporter Ava Evans said on the BBC that calls for a minister for men “feed into the culture war”.
Evans said Fox’s remarks made her feel “physically sick”.
GB News said it would formally apologise to Evans.
The broadcaster distanced itself from Fox’s comments shortly after they were aired, with a statement describing the remarks as “totally unacceptable”.
In a later statement issued on Wednesday morning, a GB News spokesperson said: “GB News has formally suspended Laurence Fox while we continue our investigation into comments he made on the channel last night.
“Mr Fox’s suspension is effective immediately and he has been taken off air. We will be apologising formally to Ms Evans today.”
Fox – who unsuccessfully ran to be London mayor in 2021 – said “I stand by every word of what I said” in a social media post on Wednesday morning.
The BBC discussion took place on Monday’s episode of Politics Live and featured Evans alongside comedian and commentator Geoff Norcott, who raised the issue of men’s mental health and the fact that, for men under 50, suicide remains the biggest cause of death.
When the host mentioned a call by a Conservative MP for a dedicated minister to address such issues, Evans – who is the political correspondent for online news platform PoliticsJOE – said: “I think that it feeds into the culture war a little bit, this minister for men argument.
“[Mental illness] is a crisis that’s endemic throughout the country, not specific to men. And I think a lot of ministers bandy this about to – I’m sorry – make an enemy out of women.”
She later said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the comments had been “a little rash” and that she was “actually very interested in a brief for a minister on young men’s mental health”.
Fox, who hosts his own show on GB News, was asked about the exchange while appearing as a guest on another of the channel’s programmes, Dan Wootton Tonight, on Tuesday.
“We’re past the watershed so I can say this. Show me a single self-respecting man that would like to climb into bed with that woman – ever, ever,” he said.
“That little woman has been fed, spoon-fed oppression day after day after day.
“And she’s sat there and I’m going like – if I met you in a bar and that was like sentence three, [the] chances of me just walking away are just huge.
“We need powerful strong, amazing women who make great points for themselves.”
He then added: “Who’d want to shag that?”
Reacting on the same platform alongside a video clip of the exchange between Fox and Wootton, Evans said: “Laurence Fox just did a whole speech on GB News on why men apparently won’t shag me? I feel physically sick.”
She told Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine show on Wednesday: “I’m really hurt by it… I’m shocked about by it, I’m shocked that it went out.”
Host Wootton, who could be seen laughing at points as Fox spoke, issued two statements apologising on X, calling the remarks “totally unacceptable” and saying he had reacted “out of shock”.
He continued: “Having looked at the footage, I can see how inappropriate my reaction to his totally unacceptable remarks appears to be and want to be clear that I was in no way amused by the comments.”
In social media posts on Wednesday, Fox shared a screenshot which he claimed shows a conversation with a GB News employee informing them of the nature of the comments he intended to make ahead of his appearance, though not with the specific explicit language.
BBC News has contacted GB News for comment.
Fox’s comments attracted widespread condemnation, including from Labour MP and shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry, who tagged media regulator Ofcom into a post on X in an apparent call for it to intervene.
“British television should never subject women to this sort of abuse,” she said.
Ofcom said it had received “a number of complaints” about Fox’s comments which it was “assessing” against its broadcast rules.
Fox, 45, first established a public profile as an actor, most notably in ITV’s detective series Lewis. His extended family is closely associated with the acting profession and he is the son of actor James Fox.
In recent years he has become known as a right-wing political commentator and activist. He launched his own political party, the Reclaim Party, in 2020.
Fox’s attempt to become London mayor the following year saw him finish sixth with 1.9% of the vote.