BBC suspends presenter accused of paying teen for sexual pictures - as star 'called alleged victim twice over complaint'

9 July 2023, 15:25 | Updated: 10 July 2023, 05:48

BBC bosses are investigating claims made about a presenter at the Corporation
BBC bosses are investigating claims made about a presenter at the Corporation. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Kit Heren and Chay Quinn

TV bosses have suspended a presenter accused of paying a teenager for sexually explicit photos.

The unnamed BBC presenter is said to have paid the teen £35,000 over a three-year period, from when they were 17 to the age of 20.

In a statement, the broadcaster said: "The BBC takes any allegations seriously and we have robust internal processes in place to proactively deal with such allegations.

"This is a complex and fast moving set of circumstances and the BBC is working as quickly as possible to establish the facts in order to properly inform appropriate next steps.

"It is important that these matters are handled fairly and with care.

"We have been clear that if - at any point - new information comes to light or is provided to us, this will be acted upon appropriately and actively followed up.

"The BBC first became aware of a complaint in May. New allegations were put to us on Thursday of a different nature and in addition to our own enquiries we have also been in touch with external authorities, in line with our protocols.

Read More: Government in showdown with TV bosses over scandal of presenter accused of 'paying teen £35k for explicit photos'

The BBC said that is had been in contact with the police over the allegations which it said were first raised with the Corporation in May
The BBC said that is had been in contact with the police over the allegations which it said were first raised with the Corporation in May. Picture: Getty

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

"We expect to be in a position to provide a further update in the coming days as the process continues. The BBC Board will continue to be kept up to date."

Allegations over the conduct of the unnamed presenter emerged on Friday after an expose in The Sun newspaper.

According to the publication, the presenter allegedly rang last week, saying: “What have you done?”

He also asked the youngster to ring their mum so she would “stop the investigation”, it is claimed.

The mother of the alleged victim said the money paid to her child had funded a crack addiction.

She claimed to reporters that pictures were exchanged from when the alleged victim was just 17.

Corporation executives are thought to have partied with the presenter weeks after allegations were first made in May this year, The Mirror reported.

One party guest told the newspaper: “If this man was aware of what was hanging over him, he certainly didn’t show it.”

BBC Director General Tim Davie (pictured) has said the broadcaster is investigating the allegations
BBC Director-General Tim Davie (pictured) has said the broadcaster is investigating the allegations. Picture: Getty

According to the Protection of Children Act 1978, it's illegal to "make, distribute, possess or show any indecent images of anyone aged under 18, even if the content was created with the consent of that young person”.

It's also illegal to "ask a child to send a sexual image of themselves".

Lucy Frazer met with BBC Director-General Tim Davie on Sunday to discuss the allegations.

The Culture Secretary said she had been assured the BBC is investigating allegations against one of its presenters "swiftly and sensitively".

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Lucy Frazer (pictured) spoke to Tim Davie about the allegations on Sunday
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Lucy Frazer (pictured) spoke to Tim Davie about the allegations on Sunday. Picture: Getty

In a tweet after a phone call with Mr Davie on Sunday, Lucy Frazer said: "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.

"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."

Former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal told The Times they could also be charged with sexual exploitation under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

He said he was “surprised that this person was not suspended once they became aware of the gravity of the allegation”.

On Sunday, a Met Police spokesperson said: "The Met has received initial contact from the BBC in relation to this matter, but no formal referral or allegation has been made.

"We will require additional information before determining what further action should follow."

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