Thursday, 7th December 2023

UK govt says BBC allegations ‘deeply concerning’

The UK's culture minister on Sunday held talks with the head of the BBC over "deeply concerning" allegations that one of its presenters....

Britain’s main opposition Labour Party Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Rachel Reeves speaks to members of the media after appearing on the BBC’s ‘Sunday Morning’ political television show on July 9, 2023 (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP)

The UK’s culture minister on Sunday held talks with the head of the BBC over “deeply concerning” allegations that one of its presenters paid a teenager thousands of pounds for sexually explicit photos.

“I have spoken to BBC Director General Tim Davie about the deeply concerning allegations involving one of its presenters. He has assured me the BBC are investigating swiftly and sensitively,” culture secretary Lucy Frazer said.

“Given the nature of the allegations it is important that the BBC is now given the space to conduct its investigation, establish the facts and take appropriate action. I will be kept updated,” she added.

The Sun newspaper, which first reported the claims, cited the young person’s mother as saying that a BBC star paid her child over £35,000 ($45,000) for the images over a three-year period.

According to The Sun article, the young person was 17 when the payments from the presenter started.

The claims also include that the presenter in question appeared on air after the young person’s family complained to the BBC in May.

The BBC said Friday that it treats “any allegations very seriously” and has “processes in place to proactively deal with them”.

It was not immediately clear if there has been a formal suspension.

The British broadcaster, whose chairman resigned in April after an inquiry found he failed to disclose a loan to ex-prime minister Boris Johnson, has come under fire over its handling of the claim.

Former home secretary and Tory MP Priti Patel said the BBC’s response was “derisory”, adding: “They must provide the victim and his family a full and transparent investigation”.

“The BBC, but also other broadcasters, do need to get a grip because we seem to lurch from one scandal to another and more needs to be done,” opposition Labour MP Rachel Reeves told Sky News on Sunday.

In May, British star TV host Phillip Schofield resigned from the ITV channel after admitting to an “unwise but not illegal” relationship with a young colleagues.

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