BBC editor sacked for ‘gay harassment’ of colleague

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A former BBC picture editor is suing the corporation after he was sacked for sexually harassing a male colleague.

Jonathan Steer, who worked on News At Ten and Newsnight, began to bombard the colleague, referred to as Andrew, with emails and late-night phone calls, a London employment tribunal heard.

The messages began in October 2008 after Mr Steer invited Andrew to dinner but found his advances rebuffed, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Andrew told the hearing that afterwards, Mr Steer had implied to colleagues that that something had happened between the pair.

Mr Steer admitted sending Andrew messages from alias names. Some warned Andrew to “rebuild bridges … for your sake”, while one urged him to “let [Mr Steer] down gently.

In one incident, Mr Steer allegedly sent a letter to Andrew’s elderly parents which mentioned HIV.

Andrew told the tribunal: “I started to worry about what Jonathan might do and when this would all end. I was starting to think he might turn up at my home. I was concerned if he did turn up and did something awful, then no one might know what had happened.”

Mr Steer was given a written warning about his behaviour in July 2009 but by the following April, had resumed sending messages.

Mr Steer told the tribunal he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and did not remember contacting Andrew.

He is claiming disability discrimination and unfair dismissal.

He said: “Having depression with bipolar is a very dark experience and that fear, sadness and loneliness will live with me forever.

“These managers continually referred to their duty of care towards Andrew which is as it should be, but I also
believed that they had a duty of care towards me and that they failed me.”

The hearing continues.