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MailOnline and The Sun Hid Serious Dan Wootton Claims – While Attacking Huw Edwards and the BBC

In the fifth part of our three-year special investigation into the private and professional conduct of GB News star Dan Wootton, Byline Times can reveal how The Sun and MailOnline have been protecting their star celebrity journalist

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MailOnline knew of serious criminal allegations of a sexual nature about its columnist Dan Wootton in May yet failed to report them to the police and continued to publish his work on five occasions, Byline Times can reveal.

Wootton’s former employer The Sun also failed to report the same detailed allegations to the police despite knowing about them since at least 7 June 2023 – a month before running a controversial front page about a BBC presenter lawfully paying for sexual images.

The matter was reported to the publications by a former male adult entertainer whom Wootton employed to help him catfish men of sexual interest and secretly record them in their homes having sex. 

A further allegation was also made, and is known by both newspapers – details of which we are unable to report at this time.

The man told Byline Times: “The Mail said they couldn’t touch the story as Wootton worked for them. They said it sounded like a very serious criminal matter, and said that I should go to the police – which I did.

“I also told The Sun about it and the fact that Wootton had paid one of my colleagues for sex work from their own accounts by pretending he was a source on a story about Amber Heard. They also told me to report it to the police. So, I did that in June.”

Neither publication has since reported at all on the three-year special investigation into the personal and professional conduct of Wootton that Byline Times started breaking 11 days ago, yet The Sun did cover Wootton’s denials in a 143-word piece on 20 July. News UK, its publisher, has since set up an internal inquiry and MailOnline has unofficially ‘paused’ Wootton’s column.

However, the failure of publishers Associated Newspapers Ltd and News UK Ltd to act sooner is attracting strong criticism, given both took aim at the BBC during the same period for its handling of the Huw Edwards affair.

“The fact that Dan Wootton’s employers and previous employers knew of allegations against him and did nothing for at least six weeks before Byline Times started reporting them means that the public interest here is not just on his alleged actions but their actions too as supposedly responsible publishers and employers,” Paul Wragg, Professor of Media Law at the University of Leeds, told this newspaper.

‘I Was Really Surprised they Didn’t Seem Interested’

Today, in the latest part of Byline Times’ #MediaToo investigation into abuses of power in publishing and broadcasting, we can reveal how the ex-adult entertainer first contacted MailOnline on 29 May amid a mounting scandal about the former ITV This Morning presenter Philip Schofield and his lawful relationship with a younger man he worked with.

In a subsequent email to MailOnline on 31 May, the man – who we are not naming for legal reasons – wrote: “After Philip Schofield, the next one on This Morning who should be investigated is Dan Wootton [the presenter previously worked on the magazine show].

“I am an ex-porn star and escort. I have worked for Dan on several occasions. The things he has asked me to do were illegal. He used to ask us to film others without their consent… He also used to pay myself and others to use our Facebooks [profiles] and message who he wanted us to encounter with. How much for a story like this? I have more information on him.”

Wootton has denied any allegations of criminality.

The complainant has since told Byline Times that his interactions with the now GB News star, left him suicidal and living a chaotic life of self-medicating drug use and mental trauma.

Communications with MailOnline continued until this Wednesday, 26 July, during which the man says he was told it could not consider reporting on Wootton because he was an employee of Associated Newspapers.

“After that, I went to The Sun and told them about Wootton and the Amber Heard stuff – evidence of which they obviously have on their own account system. After lots of calls, they just said it was for the police to deal with, not them.

“They said there wasn’t any evidence, even though I was directly involved. I even told them the name of the accounts person who dealt with it. I was really surprised they didn’t seem interested.”

Byline Times has verified the email and other communications with MailOnline and can confirm that at least eight phone calls were made to and from The Sun newsdesk between 7 June and 27 July about Wootton, who last night was still presenting a prime-time show on GB News.

The Huw Edwards Parallel

During this period, both MailOnline and The Sun broke stories about Huw Edwards, who is no longer on air for the BBC and has been receiving help, according to his wife, with “serious mental health issues”.

In a defence of its articles about Edwards, which have been heavily criticised, The Sun wrote in a comment piece on 13 July: “A desperate couple approached us with firm evidence that he was paying large sums to a young person with a spiralling drug addiction – and that the star had been sent sexual pictures.

“But police said nothing could be done and, despite a detailed complaint to the BBC, it did nothing either. What do our critics, especially Mr Edwards’ pious media friends, think we should have done? Told the family to shove off? Turned a blind eye to what appeared to be a clear abuse of power by a household name… ?”

MailOnline has been similarly critical of the BBC for posing as the “moral conscience of the nation” over the Edwards saga.

On Wednesday, its columnist Brendan O’Neill wrote: “Their authoritarian urge to elevate certain stories and diminish others robs ordinary people of the right to know what is really happening in this country. There is nothing ‘virtuous’ about it. On the contrary: these are the despotic antics of people who think they should have the power to control the flow of information itself.”

For Prof Wragg, “Dan Wootton has set himself up as a moral arbiter whose job it is to condemn others for moral flaws – and that means that his own moral flaws are a matter of clear public interest”.

“He is a man who has been instrumental in exposing the highly sensitive details of the private lives of many people in public life, including the television presenter Philip Schofield and the musical entertainer Duncan James,” he told Byline Times.

“He’s made a career out of subjecting others to vitriol but now seems to want the protection of the law as a matter of privacy and defamation now that his own alleged actions are being subjected to scrutiny.”

He added: “During this precise time-frame, The Sun was breaking a big story about the BBC News anchor Huw Edwards and it seems extraordinary that they would not have taken the opportunity to refer the serious allegations against Mr Wootton to the police themselves.

“At the very least, this inaction and the decision by MailOnline to allow Mr Wootton to continue to publish columns under its name seriously undermines the moral stance it has taken by criticising the BBC’s conduct in relation to Mr Edwards.

“It also undermines their credibility as a serious news organisation. This is a clear ethical failing that IPSO, the press complaints handler, should investigate given that it claims to uphold high editorial standards.”


GB News Star Dan Wootton Unmasked in Cash-for-Sexual Images Catfishing Scandal

In the first part of its three-year special investigation, Byline Times reveals the accounts of victims targeted by the powerful TV presenter

Wootton has written five columns for MailOnline since the man first contacted it with his allegations. 

In one column on 30 May, Wootton discussed Philip Schofield, saying: “I would have thought in this day and age that a mainstream broadcaster such as ITV ought to be seen to be doing all it can to deal with issues like this, find out where the truth lies and, in the meantime, suspend those who the rumours concern.”

Wootton also called for “the truth, this time; not the saccharin fairy-tale Schofield offered up on the sofa to an unsuspecting British public”.

In a follow-up column on 15 June, Wootton wrote of ITV’s treatment of the Schofield affair: “As a result of this cover-up and PR disaster that has followed, many loyal viewers will never trust This Morning or the channel its broadcast on again.”

Byline Times put a series of questions connected to this article to News UK and Associated Newspapers but received no response. This newspaper will update this article if it does.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “In June 2023, the Metropolitan Police was contacted with regards to allegations of sexual offences committed by a man. Officers are assessing information to establish whether any criminal offence has taken place. There is no police investigation at this time.”

Dan Evans is a former colleague of Dan Wootton’s from the News of the World. None of the sources in this article were paid for their testimony

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#MediaToo investigation AND CROWDFUNDER

#MediaToo investigation AND CROWDFUNDER

COMING UP: Wootton’s Secret Double Life As ‘Martin Branning’ – The Final Proof

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