Who is Laurence Fox – and what controversies has he faced?
As a self-styled “anti-woke” campaigner, with a Twitter bio that reads “trans lesbian of colour”, Laurence Fox has often found himself at the centre of spats.
Laurence Fox has been suspended by GB News over comments he made on air about a female journalist.
The actor-turned-political activist asked viewers to “show me a single, self-respecting man that would like to climb into bed with that woman… ever… ever” about political correspondent Ava Evans.
“Who’d want to shag that?” he added.
The network has apologised and complaints have been made to regulator Ofcom.
As a self-styled “anti-woke” campaigner, with a Twitter bio that reads “trans lesbian of colour”, 45-year-old Fox has often found himself at the centre of spats.
Here, Sky News looks at his life and career – and his many controversies.
RADA-trained and from family of actors
Fox is from a long line of actors.
His father James won a BAFTA for his role in The Servant in 1963, starring in his last film in 2018. Fox’s grandparents on his father’s side were the theatre agent Robin Fox and actor Angela Worthington.
He has four siblings – Tom, Robin, Jack and Lydia – many of whom are also in the industry. Robin Fox is a film producer, and Jack and Lydia Fox are both actors.
Comedian Richard Ayoade is Fox’s brother-in-law, having married his sister.
His cousins Freddie and Emilia Fox are also both actors – the latter having starred in the film The Pianist. Their father – Fox’s uncle – is Edward Fox, best known for his role in The Day Of The Jackal in 1973.
Fox was born in Leeds but sent to Harrow to attend its prestigious boarding school as a teenager.
He was kicked out before he did his A-levels and failed to get into university – but managed to get a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, the most esteemed acting school in the country.
In an interview with The Telegraph, he claimed he was treated “like a nonce” for going to Harrow.
Star of ITV drama and marriage to Billie Piper
Having graduated, Fox secured several film roles including Gosford Park in 2005, and Becoming Jane and Elizabeth: The Golden Age in 2007.
In 2006, he started his best-known role, playing DS James Hathaway in the ITV drama Lewis.
A year later, in December 2007 he married the singer and actor Billie Piper.
They were together for nine years, having two children Winston and Eugene, before divorcing in May 2016 – with Piper citing “unreasonable behaviour”.
The former couple now share custody – with Fox telling The Mail on Sunday the court case “nearly cost him his sanity” and his “bank balance”.
In the same year as his wedding, he received a police caution for assaulting a photographer outside a London theatre.
Once he finished his stint on Lewis, he turned his hand to music, releasing two albums; Holding Patterns in 2016 and A Grief Observed in 2019.
When his record label went bust, he had to use £70,000 of his own money to fund his record, according to reports.
His last notable acting role was in the Netflix show White Lines.
COVID conspiracies and race rows
When coronavirus emerged in Europe in early 2020, Fox quickly became a vocal virus-sceptic on Twitter.
In January 2022, he posted a picture of himself wearing a T-shirt that read: “No vaccine needed. I have an immune system.”
When he tested positive for the virus days later, he said he was “joining the natural immunity club” and using an anti-worm treatment to cure himself.
He established himself as a provocateur after an appearance on BBC Question Time, in which he called an academic “racist” for referring to him as a “white privileged male”.
Fox insisted that being a “white privileged male” did not “lock him out of the debate” on Meghan Markle and her treatment by the press.
After the clip went viral, he sparked another furore when he told a podcast it is “annoying” that black actors only talk about racism once they’ve had success.
He told host James Delingpole: “The most annoying thing is the minute a black actor – it’s the same with working-class actors – the minute they’ve got five million quid in the bank, every interview they do is about how racism is rampant and rife in the industry.
“And with working-class actors, ‘There’s not enough working-class actors’. You weren’t saying that when you didn’t have a f****** pot to piss in were you?”
The podcast also saw him criticise the inclusion of a Sikh soldier in the First World War film 1917, saying it “diverted” him from the plot.
When two Strictly Come Dancing dancers reportedly refused to get vaccinated against COVID, Fox tweeted: “Sack them and replace them with jabbed dancers,” adding: “Would you apply the same rules to HIV positive dancers?”
Sexual health charity the Terrence Higgins Trust pointed out HIV is not passed on by “dancing”.
During the pandemic, Fox announced his candidacy for London mayor, having criticised Sadiq Khan for failing to tackle knife crime.
He said that “children are dying on our streets” and “hospitals are filling up with the stabbed and shot… in the name of political correctness”.
Under his self-founded Reclaim Party, he promised to lift facemask rules in the capital, despite them not being in the mayor’s remit.
He only managed to get 47,000 votes, which saw him lose his £10,000 deposit.
The Reclaim Party, Fox says, is focused on defending freedom of speech, reforming public institutions, particularly the BBC, and celebrating British history and culture.
He ran in the Uxbridge and Ruislip by-election to replace former Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this year.
Despite only getting 714 votes, he said he was happy to have finished fourth, ahead of the Liberal Democrats.
Fox also currently runs the Bad Law Project, which offers support to those “suffering” from so-called politically correct legal decisions.