The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is reeling under the weight of accusations of child pornography allegedly first leveled in May against an unnamed broadcaster in its ranks, according to multiple reports.
The “well-known presenter” is accused of paying more than £35,000 (over $44,000) in exchange for sexually explicit photographs from the teenager, who was reportedly 17-years-old when the exchange allegedly occurred in 2020, according to The Sun. The teenager allegedly “used the cash to fund a crack habit.”
The family of the teenager complained to the BBC about the matter May 19, appealing to the corporation to make the broadcaster “stop sending the cash,” according to the news report. The family also reportedly “wanted no payment” from The Sun for the story.
The BBC confirmed Sunday that the report by The Sun — first published Friday — was the first report of the allegations. Its “[d]irector general Tim Davie also confirmed, in an email to staff, that the presenter had been suspended” and that the BBC was “in touch with police” and “working as quickly as possible to establish the facts,” per the BBC report. (RELATED: Major News Outlet Changes Rape Victim’s Quotes ‘Because Of Misgendering’: REPORT)
The allegations and online speculation provoked a flurry of denials on social media by some top-level BBC broadcasters, including Gary Lineker and Nicky Campbell, who reported a Twitter user to the UK’s Metropolitan Police for alleging Campbell was the BBC presenter in question.
“The BBC needs to get their house in order”
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves says the BBC needs to do better at handling serious allegations after The Sun published a report that an unnamed BBC presenter paid a teenager for explicit photos#BBCLauraK https://t.co/xOgO3VkVzc pic.twitter.com/NsetcJvX0D
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) July 9, 2023
Lucy Frazer, U.K. Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, tweeted she had “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.” She also asked “that the BBC [be] given the space to conduct its investigation, establish the facts and take appropriate action” in a separate tweet.
U.K. Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Rachel Reeves said in an interview with the BBC, “I do feel that I often come on this program and we always start with another crisis at the BBC. The BBC do need to speed up their processes,” adding that “[t]he BBC need to get their house in order.”
The BBC has suffered from other scandals in recent months. Former BBC chair Richard Sharp resigned April 28 following an investigation into an alleged failure to disclose conflicts of interest. Top presenter Gary Lineker, first suspended March 10 for his online criticism of the U.K. government over migration, was reinstated March 18 after a solidarity walkout by his BBC colleagues. The opposition Labour Party also accused the corporation of caving to government pressure by suspending Lineker.