Government’s BBC rumors ‘extremely worrying’


The United Kingdom’s culture minister said on Sunday she was in talks with the head of the BBC about “extremely worrying” allegations that one of its presenters paid a teenager thousands of pounds for sexually provocative photos.

“I have spoken to BBC Director General Tim Davie about the extremely worrying allegations involving one of his presenters. He assured me that the BBC would investigate quickly and in a sensitive way,” said Lucy Frazer.

“Given the nature of the allegations it is important that the BBC is now given the space to conduct its investigation, determine the facts and take appropriate action. They will keep me informed.”

The Sunnewspaper, which first reported on the rumours, said the young person’s mother claims a BBC star paid her child more than £35 000 (about R845 000) over a period of three years for the photos.

According to the report, the person was 17 when payments from the provider began.

The presenter in question continued to appear on air after the alleged victim’s family complained to the BBC in May.

The BBC said on Friday that it views “any allegations in a very serious light” and has “processes in place to proactively deal with them”.

It is not yet clear whether any formal suspension has taken place.

It is also not yet known who the presenter is. According to Sky News is it a man, a presenter and a “household name”.

The BBC’s chairman resigned in April after an investigation found he had failed to disclose a loan to former prime minister Boris Johnson.

Tory MP Priti Patel, former home secretary, said the BBC’s response was “ridiculous”. “They must provide the victim and his family with a transparent investigation.”

Opposition MP Rachel Reeves believes the BBC, and also other broadcasters, need to straighten themselves out. “It seems as if we just move from one scandal to another and more needs to be done.”

The British star TV presenter Phillip Schofield resigned from the ITV channel in May after he made confessions about an “unwise but not illegal” relationship with a young colleague.