Dan Wootton Opens Up About the ‘Witch Hunt’ that Forced His Exit from GB News

Last fall, Dan Wootton was suspended by U.K. broadcaster GB News due to his reaction to comments made by actor-turned-political activist and commentator Laurence Fox on his program.

Fox was a guest on Wootton’s top-rated show in September when he made a series of controversial remarks about a female journalist, Ava Evans, including asking “who would want to shag that?” You can watch the full exchange here.

The story created a firestorm in Britain, with Ofcom, the communications regulator in the U.K., opening an investigation into what transpired. Ofcom issued its ruling last week and declared Fox’s remarks “were clearly and unambiguously misogynistic.” 

Wootton announced soon after that he had parted ways with GB News and is starting his own independent platform. On Wednesday’s show, he joined Megyn to discuss what transpired and his new venture, Dan Wootton Outspoken.

The ‘Witch Hunt’

While his suspension from GB News and the loss of his MailOnline column last fall seemingly centered around the incident with Fox, Wootton detailed what he believes to be an “establishment witch hunt” against him. “I think it’s completely insane that, effectively, I lost my mainstream media platform for words that I did not say,” he said. “This very obvious witch hunt against me… was designed to end my career on GB News… They were under a lot of pressure when it came to me.”

Wootton believes his career was sidelined by more than just the controversial segment. “Let’s go back because you and I both believed that it wasn’t just about that moment on the air,” Megyn said. “There was, as you point out, a smear campaign that was launched against you several months before and it was ugly.”

Last summer, reporters Dan Evans and Tom Latchem of Byline Times published a report accusing Wootton of having “hid behind fake online identities to trick and bribe scores of men into revealing compromising sexual material” as part of a “catfishing scandal.” 

At the time, Wootton told viewers he had made “errors of judgment” but denied any criminality. He told Megyn that he was “under a lot of pressure” to make a statement. And, as Wootton explained, he was also forced to be vague in defense because Byline Times “went to the police with this false information to try and force the police’s head to launch an investigation.” In February, the Metropolitan and Scottish Police announced that they would be taking no further action in the cases.

In the first post on his new platform, Wootton blamed the “sustained attack over completely spurious allegations” again him on “a convicted violent criminal, convicted extortionist, convicted phone hacker, a hard left activist, and an ex of more than a decade who had admitted to being a ‘psychopath’ with ‘dark’ urges.”

Megyn noted that The Megyn Kelly Show had reached out to those involved for a response. “You didn’t say the ex’s name and I’m not going to either, but he did give us some background and… this person denies having ever been convicted of a crime,” she said. “And that’s important because to say otherwise, if it’s not true, is defamatory.”

In a statement to The Megyn Kelly Show, Byline Times stood by its reporting:

“Byline Times exists to serve the public interest and hold power to account no matter how powerful the person or big the platform they stand on. Dan Wootton is an example of this.

We stand by every word we have written and will continue to cover what is still a developing news story without fear or favour.

For democracy to function it is vital that journalism can challenge false narratives, hypocrisy in public life, and the abuse of power.

For example, we have reported the fact that Dan Wootton remains under investigation by his former employer and his conduct is being investigated by the British Parliament.  That multiple police investigations into Dan Wootton took place is fact. But this was only a small part of our reporting into his behaviour. While we truly support free speech, Dan Wootton has sought to use British libel lawyers using restrictive privacy laws in Britain to try and silence our reporting of a police investigation into him.  The original investigations into Mr Wootton were not instigated by Byline Times, but we have responsibly reported developments about him as a prominent person in public life.

As a news organisation, we always strive for very highest standards of investigative journalism. Where we have proper evidence of wrongdoing, we call it out. Where we see behaviour that warrants scrutiny and investigation, we report on it.

We will always fight for the right for accurate and responsible journalism to be practiced and fair comment to be expressed – these are cornerstones of a healthy society, along with the ability for law enforcement to legitimately do its job.”

Ties to Prince Harry

Wootton is known for his coverage of the royal family. While he was executive editor of The Sun, he broke the news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would be leaving the U.K. as part of their so-called ‘Mexit’ in January 2020. In his memoir Spare, Harry accused Wootton of being close with Prince William’s communications secretary and called him a “sad little man.” 

As Wootton explained, Prince Harry has ties to Evans, the reporter at Byline Times who wrote the piece about him. Evans was given a 10-month suspended prison sentence in 2014 after admitting to listening to more than 1,000 hacked voicemail messages as a reporter. The Guardian reported at the time that he had “been spared a ‘significant’ jail sentence” because he ended up acting as witness in the prosecution of other journalists. 

Last spring, he testified in support of Prince Harry and other alleged phone-hacking victims who were suing Mirror Group Newspapers in a separate case. Harry was awarded 140,000 pounds (about $177,000) in damages in December.

Wootton said Prince Harry remains entwined in the British press and justice system despite no longer living in the country. “It makes me sick the way that Byline Times and Prince Harry are weaponizing the police, and the police actually need to man up now and stop being influenced by this sort of thing,” he explained. “In terms of the investigation into me, it was a colossal waste of time.”

While Megyn acknowledged the story is “in the weeds for our American audience,” she sought to simplify the allegation. “If you follow the string, what Dan is alleging is that this guy who was convicted of phone hacking, now is helping Prince Harry – who we know can’t stand Dan – and then suddenly this guy’s organization, Byline Times, does repeated in-depth pieces on alleged criminal behavior by Dan, which then does get two investigations, both of which conclude there was no criminal wrongdoing,” she noted. “That’s where we are today.”

Going Independent

Ultimately, Wootton plans to start fresh with his new venture. “I’ve obviously looked at what you’re doing, Megyn, what Tucker Carlson is doing, what Dan Bongino is doing and all three of you, I would argue, actually have more influence than when you are hosting top-rated shows on Fox News because we are going through this media revolution,” he said. 

In Megyn’s view, independent media is the future. “I highly recommend this lane for someone who really just needs to be honest about the news and about their opinions on society,” she said. “And it’s even worse over in the U.K. where you have this Ofcom regulator.”

Wootton agreed. “No one can speak genuinely freely in the British broadcast media,” he concluded. “So, I’m going to try and do what you three have done very successfully in the U.S. media here in the U.K., and I really do believe there’s a big gap in the market for it.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Wootton by tuning in to episode 745 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.