BBC boss to be questioned over allegations about unnamed presenter
Allegations that a BBC presenter paid a teenager tens of thousands of pounds for sexually explicit images are to be put to the head of the corporation.
The BBC has suspended a male member of staff after The Sun newspaper reported he paid a young person around £35,000 over three years, from the age of 17, for explicit images.
Director-general Tim Davie is due to face the media on Tuesday for a scheduled briefing following the release of the corporation’s annual report, although the controversy will dominate the agenda.
The report, planned before the allegations came out, is an assessment of the BBC’s performance over the last 12 months.
It typically reveals the pay remuneration of the corporation’s biggest earners, with Mr Davie also expected to answer questions about stars’ pay packets.
The young person at the centre of the controversy said nothing inappropriate or unlawful happened with the unnamed presenter, however their mother reportedly stands by the claims.
In a letter reported by BBC News At Six, the young person said via a lawyer: “For the avoidance of doubt, nothing inappropriate or unlawful has taken place between our client and the BBC personality and the allegations reported in The Sun newspaper are ‘rubbish’.”
The legal representative also said the young person told The Sun on Friday evening before the newspaper published the story that there was “no truth to it”, the BBC reported.
The lawyer reportedly called the article on the front page “inappropriate”, claiming in the letter the mother and the young person are estranged.
BBC News said it does not know the identity of the young person and has not spoken to them directly, but that the letter was sent by a multinational law firm.
Police said they are carrying out further inquiries to establish whether any crime has been committed after BBC representatives spoke with detectives on Monday morning.
A spokesperson for The Sun said: “We have reported a story about two very concerned parents who made a complaint to the BBC about the behaviour of a presenter and the welfare of their child. Their complaint was not acted upon by the BBC.
“We have seen evidence that supports their concerns. It’s now for the BBC to properly investigate.”
The mother and stepfather of the young person stood by their allegation, and questioned how their child could afford the lawyer, The Sun reported.
The newspaper alleged that the mother said: “It is sad but we stand by our account and we hope they get the help they need.
“We did this to help – and the presenter has got into their head. How did they afford a lawyer?”
The mother earlier told the newspaper she saw a picture of the presenter on her child’s phone “sitting on a sofa in his house in his underwear”.
She said she was told it was “a picture from some kind of video call” and looked like he was “getting ready for my child to perform for him”.
The family were said to have complained to the BBC on May 19, but allegedly became frustrated that the star remained on air.
The presenter is alleged to have made “panicked” calls to the young person following the allegations, saying he asked “What have you done?”, and asking them to tell their mother to stop the investigation.
The BBC said it had been investigating a complaint since May, and new claims of a “different nature” were brought to it on Thursday.
As well as being in touch with the police, the BBC is carrying out its own inquiries and talking to the young person’s family.Published: by Radio NewsHub