Sun and Mail publishers examine claims against journalist Dan Wootton – The Guardian

GB News presenter facing allegations he inappropriately offered colleagues large sums in return for sexual material
The publishers behind the Sun and MailOnline are looking into allegations that Dan Wootton inappropriately offered colleagues tens of thousands of pounds in return for sexual material.
Wootton’s ex-boyfriend claimed last week that Wootton, who is now a presenter on GB News, used the pseudonym “Martin Branning” and offered individuals large sums of money in return for filming themselves carrying out sex acts.
Alex Truby alleged he made the discovery after accessing Wootton’s hard drive in 2013 and seeing emails mentioning the pseudonym.
On Monday, the website Byline Times went further and published an article claiming that an anonymous “trusted former colleague” of the GB News anchor had come forward to say Wootton used the Branning name. The Guardian has not been able to independently establish the link between Branning and Wootton.
Many of the allegations relate to the time when Wootton was employed by the Sun, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News UK. The Guardian understands the organisation has no record of internal complaints relating to a Martin Branning, although it is urging anyone who wishes to make fresh allegations to approach the company.
A spokesperson for News UK said: “We are looking into the allegations made in recent days. We are not able to make any further comment at this stage.”
Wootton currently writes a regular column for MailOnline. A spokesperson for DMG Media, the site’s parent company, said: “We are aware of the allegations and are looking into them.”
The Guardian has over the last three years talked to multiple individuals working in the media who say they have been approached online by a person using the name Martin Branning.
The individuals, usually with links to the Sun, described being offered tens of thousands of pounds by Branning, usually in return for performing sexual acts on camera. The messages appeared to be personalised and were targeted at individuals, usually straight men, including employees of News UK.
On Tuesday night Wootton delivered a six-minute statement on his GB News show directly addressing the allegations, telling viewers he had been the “target of a smear campaign by nefarious players” and denying any illegal behaviour. He criticised the Guardian for publishing this article and claimed he had reported Truby to the police.
He did not explicitly deny any of the claims involving the Martin Branning account. Instead, he accepted making “errors of judgment in the past”, criticised the “cesspit of social media” and suggested the claims were part of a political campaign to undermine GB News.
'There are dark forces out to try and take this brilliant channel down. And that’s because GB News is the biggest threat to the establishment in decades, and they will stop at nothing to destroy us.'@DanWootton
He went on to blame “cancel culture” for his treatment, saying: “Being in the middle of the witch-hunt has made me think a lot about the sort of journalist and broadcaster I aspire to be, one focused on the massive political threats facing this country, not on personal attacks.
“I mean, who doesn’t have regrets? Should I be cancelled for them many years later? Or do you accept that I have learned and changed?”
Wootton, 40, is a former showbiz journalist at the News of the World, who has extensively documented the private lives of celebrities. He moved to the Sun after the phone-hacking scandal and wrote extensively about celebrities including Caroline Flack.
He broke the news that Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, was moving to the US, and he was involved in the story that led to the ITV presenter Phillip Schofield publicly coming out as gay.
In 2021 he moved to GB News, where he hosts a nightly show and has developed a persona as a rightwing presenter criticising “woke” issues.
In 2022, Andrew Brady, the former fiance of Flack, was sent to jail after pleading guilty to harassment of Wootton, after publicly making a number of allegations about the presenter.
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