BBC suspends presenter alleged to have paid teen for sexually explicit photos


The BBC has confirmed that the unnamed male presenter alleged to have paid thousands of pounds to a teenager for sexually explicit photographs has been suspended.

On Friday (7 July), the Sun reported allegations that an unnamed male BBC star had paid more than £35,000 to a young person in return for sexual images.

The alleged exchange of cash for explicit pictures is said to have begun in 2020 when the young person was just 17. The Sun reported that the young person’s family complained to the publicly-funded broadcaster on 19 May and begged the BBC to make the star involved “stop sending the cash”.

The alleged victim’s mother told the Sun that the money was used to fund a drug addiction that “destroyed” her child’s life, and that she saw the BBC star on her child’s phone, pictured in his underwear, “ready for my child to perform for him”.

In a statement shared on Sunday (9 July), the BBC confirmed the unnamed presenter had been suspended and also noted that while the broadcaster had been aware of a complaint made in May, “new allegations” of a “different nature” were put to the BBC on Thursday (6 July).

It is also understood that the broadcaster is in touch with the police on this matter.

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Tim Davie, the BBC director general, condemned the “unsubstantiated rumours” made online about “some of our presenting talent”. High-profile BBC stars including Rylan Clark, Gary Lineker and Jeremy Vine have all taken to Twitter over the weekend to scotch social media smears on the issue.

In an email shared with internal staff, Davie wrote: “By law, individuals are entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy, which is making this situation more complex. I also want to be very clear that I am wholly condemning the unsubstantiated rumours being made on the internet about some of our presenting talent.

“We are in contact with the family referenced in the media reports. I want to assure you that we are working rapidly to establish the facts and to ensure that these matters are handled fairly and with care, including by external authorities where appropriate.”

BBC statement in full

The BBC’s statement is provided in full: “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.

“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.”