Chaos at GB News grows: Now Calvin Robinson becomes third presenter to be suspended after refusing to go on air as channel descends into mayhem
Calvin Robinson has been suspended from GB News after tweeting he would refuse to appear on air following the Laurence Fox row.
Mr Fox was suspended from the channel after he made a series of remarks on the programme about political correspondent Ava Evans, which included asking ‘who would want to sh** that?’ on Tuesday.
On Friday morning, GB News boss Angelos Frangopoulos apologised to Ms Evans for the comments stating they ‘should not have gone to air’ and should have been ‘properly challenged’.
Mr Fox has since apologised and GB News is undertaking an internal investigation while regulator Ofcom has launched a probe after receiving around 7,300 complaints over the episode.
Rev Robinson hit out at GB News on X, formerly known at Twitter, saying the channel should be a ‘chance to have conversations’ you can’t have on other channels.
But a few hours later he posted a tweet saying he had been suspended.
Calvin Robinson – seen in London on March 10 – today announced he had been suspended from GB News
The political pundit announced the news to his followers on X, formerly known as Twitter
Addressing the situation on X, formerly known as Twitter, Rev Robinson wrote: ‘I get that people have to pay the bills. But GB News is more than a job – it’s certainly more than a chance to be on the telly – it is a mission.
‘An opportunity to shift the dial in public discourse. To have the conversations the shills on other channels cannot or will not have.
‘We must do all we can to avoid GB News becoming just another MSM outlet. Which it will, if we let it.’
He claimed that the bosses of GB News are ‘afraid’.
Rev Robinson added: ‘We are about to see if people really care about the project, or they just want a better slot, with a bigger team and better pay.’
Dan Wootton has also since apologised to Ms Evans, suggesting he should have intervened during the broadcast, while Fox said he was ‘sorry for demeaning’ the journalist.
BBC presenter Amol Rajan clashed with Mr Frangopoulos during a tense BBC interview today.
Opening his interview with Mr Frangopoulos on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Mr Rajan asked whether Fox had been fired from GB News or just suspended.
The executive replied: ‘We have due process to follow so Laurence Fox has been suspended, there’s an investigation underway and we expect that to be completed very quickly.’
Mr Rajan asked: ‘Why do you need to investigate it? It doesn’t take very long to work out what happened.’
Mr Frangopoulos said he was ‘appalled’ by Fox’s rant but needed to follow ‘due process’ and ’employment law’.
Mr Rajan then began quizzing him about GB News’ response to the scandal on Tuesday night.
He said: ‘Ava Evans sent her tweet [about Fox’s comments] at around 10.09pm. That was around 25 minutes after the words were first uttered by Mr Fox.
‘In the intervening period, did anyone from the production team, the gallery or senior executives raise any concerns with you?’
Mr Frangopoulos replied: ‘That is the subject of our investigation at the moment.’
READ MORE – Laurence Fox apologises for ‘demeaning’ Ava Evans comments then takes another swipe at journalist – before slamming GB News for ‘throwing me under the bus’
Angered, Mr Rajan said: ‘Oh come on, come off it. That’s quite desperate isn’t it? You want the upside of being seen to have acted quickly by suspending Laurence Fox.
‘What I want to know is did you respond to it kicking off on social media, or did you respond immediately because someone in the gallery said ”hang on, that shouldn’t have gone out”?’
Mr Frangopoulos, a former executive at Sky News Australia, said: ‘That process began before the tweet. We were well aware of what was said and we took immediate action off the back of it.’
The Radio 4 host then suggested GB News bosses would have been aware of what Fox was going to say so should have stopped him.
The former actor has claimed he told producers about his comments in advance, including his planned use of the word ‘s**g’.
Mr Rajan said: ‘Isn’t the truth that you wanted Laurence Fox to speak his mind?
‘It’s not as if his opinions are a state secret and, far from being an aberration, his comments this week were in keeping with his character.
‘Do you think it’s a really surprising thing that he had those opinions?’
Mr Frangopoulos replied: ‘I disagree. Laurence Fox does sail close to the wind but he didn’t sail close to the wind earlier this week. That was way past the limits of acceptance.’
Several influential figures have called for GB News to be taken off air over the scandal.
Fox made a series of comments about political correspondent Miss Evans, including asking ‘who would want to s**g that?’
Caroline Nokes, the Commons Women and Equalities Committee chairman, said that GB News has a ‘really serious case to answer’
Sky News presenter Adam Boulton and Conservative MP Caroline Nokes are among those to have called for the news channel to be stripped of its broadcast licence and go online only.
But their comments sparked criticism, with Tim Montgomerie – editor of Conservative Home – saying that such a move would amount to ‘censorship’.
He tweeted: ‘GBNews has some big issues to sort but here we go again – illiberal liberals like @adamboultonTABB rushing to censor and shut down alternative voices.
‘Laurence Fox should be fired for repeated offences but closing down the whole station smacks of establishment authoritarianism.’
Brendan O’Neill, a columnist for The Spectator and chief politics writer for Spiked magazine, also slammed calls to shut down the channel.
He called Fox’s comments ‘odious’, but warned of ‘political censorship masquerading as a cry for social justice’.
‘It doesn’t matter what you think about Fox any more,’ he wrote. ‘Or even GB News…
‘No, all that matters now is what you think about media freedom, that hard-won right of the British people to set up newspapers, publishing houses and broadcasters.
‘We cannot let that liberty go down in the flames of Fox’s GB News career.’
Ms Nokes, the Commons Women and Equalities Committee chair, criticised GB News on BBC Newsnight yesterday.
She said there was a ‘really serious case to answer’ and insisted the channel should be ‘taken off air’.
Fox (right) spoke about Ava Evans during Dan Wootton (left) Tonight on Tuesday
Tim Montgomerie – editor of Conservative Home – said that trying to shut down GB News would amount to ‘censorship’
Urging Ofcom to investigate, she added: ‘I was appalled by a news channel broadcasting such blatantly misogynistic, outdated, hideous attitudes.
‘I think there is a really serious case to answer and I hope that Ofcom can conclude its investigations as swiftly as possible.
‘I think it should be taken off air, it was entirely predictable that Laurence Fox was going to come out with a statement that was that offensive.’
Sky’s Adam Boulton told Times Radio last night that GB News was ‘consistently flouting [Ofcom] rules… yet continuing to enjoy the privileges of being a broadcaster.
‘The issue is, in the internet age you can’t shut people up – that’s fine – but should you recognise them as broadcasters on a par with the BBC, ITN, Sky or Times Radio?
‘My answer is if you’re not going to abide by the rules, you should not have that protection or status… I think shut it down as a broadcaster, it can go online.’
Mr Fox apologised for his remarks yesterday in a video posted to X, formerly known as Twitter.
He said he was angry with Ms Evans over comments she made on a BBC debate around male suicide and alleged she had a ‘dislike of men in general’. But he apologised for ‘demeaning her’.
Fox said he was angered by Ms Evans’ comments about men’s mental health and suicide on the BBC’s Politics Live on Monday, in which she dismissed calls for a dedicated minister on the issue
He added: ‘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 world view because she would probably cause him nothing but harm’.
‘But what I did say was, you know, ‘I wouldn’t s**g 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.’
He also said he expected to be sacked by GB News over the incident, adding: ‘I know I’m going to get sacked. I’m saying this stuff to clear my own conscience.’
Speaking of GB News’ role, Fox added: ‘GB News have opened themselves up for complete destruction, as far as I can tell, because they branded themselves as the home of free speech.
‘Now, if you’re the home of free speech then what they could easily have done was say, ‘Look what Laurence said was appalling, reprehensible but he’s got the right to say it, it’s is his opinion. Could he have expressed it better? Yes’.’
He said that he feels the channel is ‘actually the home of cancel culture, and they’re probably more at risk of cancel culture than any other channel’.
The exchange saw both Fox and Wootton suspended from the channel while an internal investigation takes place. Media watchdog Ofcom has also launched a probe into the channel after it received 7,300 complaints from viewers.
Yesterday a spokesperson for dmg media said: ‘Following events this week, dmg media can confirm that Dan Wootton’s freelance column with MailOnline – which had already been paused – has now been terminated, along with his contract.’
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