GB News presenter Mark Steyn has quit his show after claiming the channel wanted to hold him liable for paying Ofcom fines.
The conservative presenter was investigated last year for anti-vaccination comments on his show and has been absent in recent months following two heart attacks.
He claimed he intended to return to his show, but GB News wanted to change the terms of his contract, making him liable for future Ofcom complaints, which Steyn refused to sign.
Steyn’s 8 p.m. slot on GB News has since been filled by actor Laurence Fox.
Who is Mark Steyn?
Mark Steyn, 63, is a Canadian author and TV host based in Toronto. He went to high school in Birmingham, England and currently lives in New Hampshire in the US.
Steyn originally worked as a DJ and then musical theater critic for The Independent before becoming a political pundit. He has written about politics, art and culture for news outlets including the Daily Telegraph, The Spectator and the Wall Street Journal.
He presented The Mark Steyn Show on GB News from Monday to Thursday until his recent departure.
In the US, he guest-hosted conservative shows such as The Rush Limbaugh Show and Tucker Carlson Tonight.
Steyn has written a number of books, including After America, America Alone: The End Of The World As We Know It, and The [Un]documented Mark Steyn.
Ofcom inquiry into vaccine comments
In October 2022, Ofcom launched an investigation into Steyn over anti-vaccination comments made on his show.
More than 400 complaints were made about Steyn’s conversation with author Naomi Wolf discussing her claim that Covid-19 vaccines can cause problems with women’s health.
Ofcom said at the time: “We believe comments made during an interview with author and journalist Dr Naomi Wolf about the coronavirus vaccine rollout pose potential problems under our broadcasting code. In particular, our investigation will determine whether this program violates our rules designed to protect viewers from harmful material.”
Why did he leave GB News?
Mark Steyn said he left GB News after the channel sought to hold him responsible for paying fines issued by media regulator Ofcom. It is generally the responsibility of the broadcaster, in this case GB News, to pay fines rather than the presenters.
He also alleged that GB News said a defibrillator had to be installed in the studio after he suffered two heart attacks in December.
In a video posted to his website explaining his departure, Steyn said: “I stand up for Ofcom fines, but I have no say in our defense against an Ofcom complaint – that’s all done by GB News.
“Ofcom’s bitch, as I call the compliance officer, will make the weed defense against Ofcom and then I’ll be the one to pay the £40,000 fine.”
In response, GB News said: “GB News takes Ofcom compliance extremely seriously. All our presenters are expected to fully comply with the Broadcast Code and there are no exceptions.
“This is without prejudice to our ability to ask tough questions, express strong opinions and debate issues that matter to the people of Britain,” said the Guardian.