Stephen Nolan, BBC host of ‘harmful’ Stonewall podcast, sent ‘explicit photos to colleagues’

BBC presenter Stephen Nolan

Radio host Stephen Nolan has been accused of sending “sexually explicit images” of a reality star – later jailed for posting “revenge porn” on his Only Fans account – to fellow BBC employees.

Nolan, a presenter for BBC Northern Ireland as well as the host of a Radio 5 Live show, allegedly shared nude images of Celebrity Big Brother winner Stephen Bear, after expressing a desire to book the star as a guest on his show, The Irish News reported.

Bear is currently serving 21 months after being found guilty of voyeurism and two counts of disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress. He had denied the charges.

In an internal complaint to BBC Northern Ireland in 2018, seen by the newspaper, messages allegedly containing sexual images of Bear were described as “beyond the pale”.

The employee who complained claimed that the initial nude photo of Bear allegedly sent by Nolan was a “deliberate attempt to undermine and embarrass me”. 

The employee additionally claimed that a second “different explicit photo of Stephen Bear naked” was sent out in a separate group text by Nolan, causing “further distress”.

You may like to watch

The radio and TV presenter is said to have threatened to send more nude images of Bear if the reality TV personality was not booked for Nolan Live.

It is claimed that Nolan reportedly wrote: “If I don’t get Bear tomorrow night, I’m sending more photos.”

A document, seen by The Irish News, reportedly stated that “appropriate action has been taken” after an internal BBC investigation took place in 2018 over the “circulation of sexually explicit images”. The documents are said to have revealed that although the outcome was confidential, the incident “has been managed internally”.

Stephen Nolan Stonewall podcast stirred ‘moral panic’

Nolan was at the centre of controversy in 2021 after his much-criticised podcast, Nolan Investigates, which sought to “investigate” the links between LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall and the BBC, was described as “harmful” to trans people. 

When the podcast, praised as “excellent” by JK Rowling, was nominated at the 2022 Audio and Radio Industry Awards, more than 150 radio industry professionals claimed in a statement that it contributed “to a harmful moral panic surrounding trans people”, and called for the nomination to be dropped in the interest of “the safety and inclusion of trans people”.

The statement added that the podcast “perpetuates a narrative that creating a safe world for trans people is a divisive issue”.

Speaking about the lates accusations, Adam Smyth, the director of BBC Northern Ireland, told PinkNews: “There are important considerations of fairness and confidentiality involved in the handling of any workplace-related complaint. We take these obligations seriously, and in the interests of everyone involved.

“It is for these reasons that we cannot comment on the specifics of any individual case, who/what it may have involved or its outcome.”

Nolan is yet to comment on the report, and has continued to broadcast for the BBC.

PinkNews has contacted Stephen Nolan for comment.