Since 17 July, GBNews presenter Dan Wootton has been in the middle of a catfishing and bullying scandal. Former colleagues of Wootton have come forward and fueled a three year investigation conducted by the independent publication, The Byline Times.
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While one article would usually suffice, The Byline Times is instead releasing several over a longer period of time. So far they have released the first two instalments of their three year investigation. The third part is set to be released in the evening of 24 July.
Dan Wootton commented on the allegations on his show and denied them saying that there are ‘dark forces’ trying to take GBNews down. He continued saying this whole investigation is a ‘witch hunt.’ However he hasn’t commented on the second article directly but instead took to social media to launch a crowdfunding campaign to ‘support his legal case’ against the Byline.
The scandal has now taken a turn and social media, at first criticised, is now becoming a key weapon in this story.
Threats against journalists
When the first instalment of the Byline Times investigation was published on 17 July, Dan Wootton quickly made a comment denying the allegations. For 6 minutes of his GBNews show, he vehemently defended himself but he also claimed that ‘dark forces’ were at work trying to destroy the channel.
Until a few days ago, this story was simply a big scandal but now things have taken a turn for the worse. On July 23, Peter Jukes co-founder and executive editor of The Byline Times announced on Twitter that members of his publication had been targeted by threats made by members of the public.
In his tweet he alleged that one journalist had found ‘blood’ on his windshield. He also mentions fishing attempts as well as threatening phone calls. In his tweet, Jukes directly points at the behaviour of GBnews which he believes enables this kind of conduct from supporters of the channel’s presenters.
According to Jukes, the threats are ongoing as he followed the tweet above with an update divulging a direct exchange he had on the phone.
Allegedly, he was told:
Are you Peter? You're going to regret now.
It is important to specify that Dan Wootton has not been proven to have any kind of involvement concerning the threats issued towards journalists of The Byline Times.
Social media is a weapon in the battle of opinion
When the first instalment of the investigation was released on 17 July, Dan Wootton took time to criticise social media. He said:
I have been thinking much over the past few days about the current state of social media. Where any allegation can be made in an attempt to get someone cancelled but it isn’t possible to defend yourself against thousands of trolls. (...) Social media has become a race to the bottom.
However, in his statement he has also highlighted the support that he had been getting from supporters saying that he had seen their messages.
While it seemed like social media was an enemy of Wootton, it now appears that it has become a crucial tool in the battle of opinion in this scandal.
Dan Wootton himself has now launched a crowdfunding campaign in order to ‘support his legal case’ against what he calls a ‘hard left blog.’ He posted a link to the crowdfunding website to his Twitter on 21 July and the post has now collected over 10K comments and 3K retweets. At the time of writing this article, Wootton has collected over £35K.
Dan Wootton lets tweets speak for him
But this isn’t it. Wootton has also been retweeted messages of support from numerous people, letting them speak while he chooses not to comment further.
I am sending out a retweet. It is absolutely essential we give@danwootton as much support as we can at this crucial time. If Dan goes from our screens and newspapers we will all end up being sucked into the black hole of looney leftism and wokism where society
Can only speak from personal experience. Truth is I have always personally found@danwootton honest man of integrity to deal with. Aware what some think, but urge all make sure know ‘true’ facts before passing judgement. Have seen Dan do really good things & standby the underdog
Stop @danwootton being cancelled by far left online smears - great claims require great levels of proof. None have been adduced so far. Dan deserves a fair hearing, like everyone else.
One retweet of his has even triggered a response from Peter Jukes himself highlighting the fact that social media is not just there to ‘cancel’ as Dan Wootton mentioned, but it can also be a powerful tool in his defence.
Now, it appears clear that both sides of this investigation have understood the power of social media in the middle of the release of the scheduled of articles.
The Byline has said that they will publish more stories in the coming days and weeks.
YahooNews:'Blood smeared on windscreen' as reporters threatened over Dan Wootton investigation