GB News presenter Dan Wootton has opened his show tonight with a response to the allegations made against him on social media in recent days.
The former journalist for The Sun has been the subject of various claims from several different men, one of whom is an ex-partner who alleged that Wootton had admitted to catfishing multiple men in an attempt to elicit explicit photos.
Wootton has maintained a silence on the allegations thus far but began his show tonight with an emotional monologue clapping back at what he described as "a smear campaign".
He said: "As a journalist, I feel uncomfortable being the story, but I've always promised you that this show has no spin and no bias and no censorship, so I owe it to you to address this.
"As you probably don't know - hopefully you don't know because you're not insane enough to pay attention to the cesspit of social media - these past few days I have been the target of a smear campaign by nefarious players with an axe to grind.
"Notably by an ex-partner - and this is something I've never spoken about and is very difficult to talk about publicly - but who... has been on a campaign to destroy my life."
He continued: "Other unspeakable slurs have been made by a convicted extortionist who I have never even met, who has a long history of blackmailing gay men and was sent to jail for a number of years by a judge who said his behaviour was 'compulsive and provided a high risk to the public'.
"I, like all fallible human beings, have made errors of judgment in the past, but the criminal allegations being made against me are simply untrue. I would like nothing more than to address those spurious claims, I could actually spend the next two hours doing so, but on the advice of my lawyers I cannot comment further.
"But 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 is impossible to defend yourself against thousands of trolls.
"That said I am coming on air tonight with a lot of humility, too. I think being in the middle of this 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?
"The last few years I've grown personally and professionally, and I've also found the meaning of true love... I've found happiness in my personal life with my wonderful boyfriend, who is here tonight. My friends and family are my world, the toll that this has taken on their mental health - well, this is literally killing me to watch.
"There is a reason why I have since day one on this show had a segment called 'uncancelled', because our rush to judge before due process - thanks in my case to the mad ramblings of highly-politicised Twitter trolls and the revolting blogs that eschew basic journalistic standards - is destroying democracy.
"And that's why, by the way, I did not say a word about Huw Edwards. Not one word. No Tweet was deleted by me, despite the misinformation and lies... I didn't know the facts so I wasn't going to weigh in until I did.
"I do also note that there are dark forces out to try and bring this brilliant channel down.. we have all found ourselves under attack. And that's because GB News is the biggest threat to the establishment in decades - and they'll stop at nothing to destroy us.
"But we will keep fighting for you, because we are a family here. You have been here with me since day one on what has been a life-changing experience for me and we have each other's back. The way you have understood what has been happening has meant the world to me.
"I recognise I'm a polarising figure and by speaking out in this way I'm opening the gates of hell on my life. But social media has become a race to the bottom. Pile-ons are now the way to cancel a person. This country is better than that. We must be, and that's why GB News exists. What we're trying to do here is something different - to give a voice to the long-forgotten people of the United Kingdom.
"A great man reminded me today 'People don't follow you because you're right, they follow you because you're real'. So thank you for your support and thank you GB News."
Wootton's show, which airs from Monday to Thursday, routinely ranks as the top-rated programme on the channel.
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