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The Chair of Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee has written to GB News demanding to know what actions it has taken following the “serious accusations” against their presenter Dan Wooton.
Wootton is currently under investigation by his former employers at The Sun and he has also been suspended as a columnist for MailOnline, after Byline Times revealed extensive allegations about his behaviour while working for the two publications.
However, despite these allegations, Wootton has continued to host his GB News show and used it to claim that “dark forces” are trying to bring him and GB News down.
The Culture Committee’s Conservative chair Caroline Dineage has today written to the channel’s Chief Executive Angelos Frangopoulos asking whether he has launched any investigations into the allegations against Wootton and reminding him that it is “vital that those working in and with the media can be confident that they are working in a safe environment”.
“In July this year we wrote to the editor of The Sun regarding serious accusations made
against Dan Wootton”, Dineage wrote.
“The newspaper responded by setting out its ongoing investigation into his alleged behaviour. The following month DMG Media, as the publisher of MailOnline, announced Mr Wootton has been suspended as a columnist while its own investigations are ongoing.
“Since then, we are aware that Mr Wootton continues to broadcast on GB News, and indeed discussed the accusations against him during a broadcast on the channel on 19 July 2023.
“It is vital that viewers have faith in the media especially in the case of news brands, where
truthfulness and accuracy are key. It is also vital that those working in and with the media
can be confident that they are working in a safe environment.
“We would, therefore, be grateful if you could set out to us what, if any, investigations or processes have been undertaken since the recent complaints about Mr Wootton were publically raised, and details of the policies and procedures available to staff at GB News in the event they seek to raise issues about the conduct of individuals or the culture at the organisation.”
Questions of ‘Due Impartiality and Professionalism’
Dineage also raised the issue of the channel’s reporting of the recent allegations of sexual assault made against Russell Brand. In the aftermath of the story, broken by the Sunday Times and Dispatches, multiple GB News presenters and contributors took to social media to announce their support for Brand. One of these presenters, Beverly Turner, who described Brand as her “hero”, went on to front the channel’s coverage of the allegations against him.
“We are also aware that, during the weekend of 16/17 September, GB News presenters
opted to use their social media platforms to defend Russell Brand against accusations of
rape and sexual assault”, Dineage wrote.
“While GB News is not responsible for this content, it is concerning that Beverley Turner, who described Mr Brand as “a hero” and invited him to appear on her show, subsequently fronted GB News’s coverage of the allegations regarding Mr Brand on the morning of 18 September.
“During that broadcast, Ms Turner announced that “if he’d offered to come on this morning, we’d’ve had him, let’s be honest”.
“While Ms Turner was challenged on her comments at length by her co-presenter, Andrew Pierce, we remain concerned that having a presenter so clearly supporting an individual who is the subject of intense media coverage, including seeking their appearance on the show, undermines any perception of due impartiality in the broadcasting.
“We would be grateful if you could set out your discussions with GB News presenters on
their responsibilities on due impartiality and professionalism when seeking to front
coverage of news events, and any actions you intend to take in response to these issues.
GB News was contacted for comment but had not responded by the time of publication.