GB News hate speech shows misogyny still needs fighting, says Sky’s Sarah-Jane

The demeaning sexist rant about Ava Evans was made during the Dan Wootton Tonight show on GB News last week.

Both actor-turned-political-activist Fox, 45 and Wootton, 40, have since been suspended by channel bosses.

Sarah-Jane, 45, who will front a new evening show on Sky News, The UK Tonight, said: “What happened was shocking and upsetting to watch. GB News took appropriate action and now it’s up to Ofcom what happens next.”

She added: “There is a huge difference between free speech and hate speech, which includes misogyny. 

“This reminds everyone those attitudes towards women are sadly still out there and people shouldn’t get complacent when it comes to tackling misogyny and fighting for equality.”

The presenter revealed in 2016 she suffered sexism early in her career.

She started out as a runner for Sky Sports before moving to ITV Central in 2002 to become a sports reporter and then a presenter.

READ MORE Ava Evans says Laurence Fox’s comments about her on GB News were ‘unforgivable’

Sarah-Jane said: “They would make sexist comments and say, ‘It’s just banter’.

“But if I’m not laughing, it’s not funny – eventually they stopped.”

But she has been encouraged by seeing “male allies” now calling out sexist behaviour.

“It’s no secret to any woman that’s come through any industry, in a certain era, that this sort of behaviour was happening.

“What’s happened now is that people are aware of it, people check it, and men are more aware of it as well. 

“There are a lot of male allies out there who will call it out now and be more comfortable doing that rather than just accept it as something that happens. It definitely has changed.”

The presenter said comedian Russell Brand being accused of rape and sexual assaults by four women at the height of his fame – which the 48-year-old star denies – had raised uncomfortable questions again for the TV industry about abuse of power.

She said: “I think it’s just made us ask those uncomfortable questions again. I think there was a sense of, ‘How are we in this position again’?”

Sarah-Jane said her new nightly show would focus on domestic “human interest” news. 

“I think it’s quite nice to have an hour where it is the home of UK stories on the channel and we get to explore them in depth,” she said. 

“I’ve done so many different shows on Sky News, the most recent one being the afternoon where there’s a lot of breaking news, and you can’t always do in-depth stories.” 

She added that while competition is healthy, GB News is a “totally different proposition”.

“I think people who tune into those channels know what they want, and they go there to get it,” the Birmingham-born presenter said. 

“People turn to us for breaking news. We’re a trusted source.” 

GB News has many highly paid contributors, including Nigel Farage, Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and Lee Anderson, deputy chair of the Conservative Party.

Asked if it got out its cheque book would she be tempted to join them, she replied: “I’m very happy at Sky News, and I’m very loyal.

“I will be staying at Sky News.”

● The UK Tonight with Saran Jane-Mee, Sky News, tomorrow, 8pm

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