BBC: male member of staff suspended following allegations
A male member of staff has been suspended following allegations an unnamed BBC presenter paid a teenager for sexually explicit images, the broadcaster said.
The corporation said it was made aware of a complaint in May but that new allegations of a “different nature” were brought to it on Thursday.
The BBC has been in touch with the police alongside conducting its own inquiries and talking to the family of the teenager.
In a statement on Sunday evening, the Metropolitan Police said: “The Met has received initial contact from the BBC in relation to this matter but no formal referral or allegation has been made.
“We will require additional information before determining what further action should follow.”
BBC director-general Tim Davie said he is “wholly condemning the unsubstantiated rumours being made on the internet about some of our presenting talent”.
In a note sent to staff and seen by PA, Mr Davie said the corporation takes “all such allegations incredibly seriously”.
In a statement shared with the PA news agency, a BBC spokesperson said: “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 inquiries 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.”
The statement added that the corporation takes “any allegations seriously” and that it has “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”, the BBC added.
“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 allegations reported by The Sun newspaper claimed the BBC star paid the person, said to have been 17 when the payments began, £35,000 in exchange for the images.
The teenager’s mother told The Sun she saw a picture of the presenter on her child’s phone “sitting on a sofa in his house in his underwear”.
The mother said she was told it was “a picture from some kind of video call” and looked like he was “getting ready for my child to perform for him”.
The family were said to have complained to the BBC on May 19 but allegedly became frustrated that the star remained on air.
Mr Davie’s note to staff on Sunday said: “The BBC became aware of a complaint in May; the BBC investigations team have been looking into this since it was raised and have been actively following up.
“New allegations, of a different nature, were put to us on Thursday, and in addition to our own enquiries we have also been in touch with external authorities, in line with our protocols.
“I can also confirm that we have suspended a member of staff.”
He added: “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.”
Earlier on Sunday, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said Mr Davie assured her the corporation is “investigating swiftly and sensitively” into the allegations.
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