September 28, 2023

Male BBC presenter accused of paying teen for explicit photos suspended

UPDATE: The BBC has suspended a male staff member accused of paying a teenager for sexually explicit photos.

The BBC said in a statement on Sunday: “The BBC takes all allegations seriously and we have robust internal processes in place to proactively address such allegations.

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“This is a complex and rapidly changing set of circumstances and the BBC is working as quickly as possible to establish the facts to properly inform the appropriate next steps.

“It is important that these matters are handled fairly and carefully.

“We have made it clear that if at any time new information comes to light or is provided to us, it will be appropriately followed up and actively followed up.

“The BBC first became aware of a complaint in May. On Thursday, new allegations of a different nature came to us and, in addition to our own investigations, we have also been in contact with outside authorities, in accordance with our protocols.

“We can also confirm that a male member of staff has been suspended.

“We expect to be able to provide a further update in the coming days as the process progresses. The BBC Board will be kept up to date.”

EARLIER: The UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has described allegations that a BBC star presenter paid for sexually explicit photos of a teenager as “deeply concerning”. UK culture secretary Lucy Frazer said BBC director-general Tim Davie had assured her the company was investigating the allegations “promptly and sensitively”.

“As a public service broadcaster receiving public funding, senior officials have stressed to the BBC that the allegations must be urgently and sensitively investigated,” the DCMS said in a statement.

EARLIER: The British broadcaster BBC is in the middle of a growing storm over allegations that a star presenter paid for sexually explicit photos of a teenager.

The scandal came to the fore on Friday when British tabloid The Sun published a story alleging a leading BBC presenter paid a teenager more than £35,000 ($44,500) since they were 17 in exchange for explicit photos.

While 17 is over sexual content, under the UK’s Protection of Children Act 1978 it is a crime to create, create, share and possess indecent images of people under 18 and the maximum penalty for the offense is 10 years.

“The alleged recipient’s mother said they used the money to fund a crack addiction,” The Sun wrote.

It is believed that the presenter – “a familiar face known to millions”, according to The Sun – was taken off the air after the story came out.

On Saturday, new allegations surfaced in the tabloid magazine that the presenter had stripped down to his underpants for a video call. The Sun wrote, citing the mother of the alleged victim who claimed to have seen the presenter on her child’s phone: “bent over, get ready for my child to perform for him.”

The mother’s claims are contained in an affidavit provided to The Sun, the tabloid said, adding that the youngster’s family filed a complaint with the BBC on May 19.

A BBC spokesperson said Variety: “We take all allegations very seriously and we have procedures in place to proactively address them.

“As part of that, if we receive information that requires further investigation or investigation, we will take steps to do so. That includes actively trying to speak to those who have contacted us to get more details and understanding of the situation.

“If we don’t get a response to our attempts or lose contact, it may limit our ability to make progress, but that doesn’t mean our investigations stop. If new information comes to light or is provided at any time – including through newspapers – this will be acted upon adequately, in line with internal processes.”

Meanwhile, several BBC social media presenters have denied being the star presenter, including Rylan Clark, Jeremy Vine and Gary Lineker.

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