Teenager says nothing unlawful happened with BBC presenter – report
The teenager at the centre of the BBC controversy said nothing inappropriate or unlawful happened with the unnamed presenter and that the allegations are “rubbish”, their lawyer said in a letter to the broadcaster.
Police are carrying out further inquiries to establish whether any crime has been committed after BBC representatives met with detectives on Monday morning.
The force said they are assessing the information discussed at the meeting but have not yet launched an investigation following allegations the presenter paid a teenager tens of thousands of pounds for sexually explicit images.
A male member of BBC staff has been suspended following claims that he paid a young person around £35,000 over three years, from the age of 17, for explicit images.
The Sun reported on Monday that the presenter had made “panicked” calls to the person last week after the allegations became known.
In a letter reported by BBC News At Six, the young person said via a lawyer: “For the avoidance of doubt, nothing inappropriate or unlawful has taken place between our client and the BBC personality and the allegations reported in The Sun newspaper are ‘rubbish’.”
The legal representative also claimed, the news programme said, that the teenager told The Sun on Friday evening ahead of the newspaper publishing the story that there was “no truth to it”.
The “inappropriate article” was still put on the front page, the lawyer also told BBC News.
The corporation said it had been investigating a complaint since May, and that new claims of a “different nature” were brought to it on Thursday.
As well as being in touch with the police, the BBC is carrying out its own inquiries and talking to the young person’s family.
A spokesperson for The Sun said: “We have reported a story about two very concerned parents who made a complaint to the BBC about the behaviour of a presenter and the welfare of their child. Their complaint was not acted upon by the BBC.
“We have seen evidence that supports their concerns. It’s now for the BBC to properly investigate.”
The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: “Detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command met with representatives from the BBC on the morning of July 10. The meeting took place virtually.
“They are assessing the information discussed at the meeting and further enquiries are taking place to establish whether there is evidence of a criminal offence being committed.
“There is no investigation at this time.”
BBC director-general Tim Davie is due to face the media on Tuesday for a scheduled briefing following the release of the corporation’s annual report.
In a note to staff on Sunday, he 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 inquiries, 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.”
The teenager’s mother told The Sun newspaper 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.
On Monday, the newspaper reported that the presenter had made “panicked” calls to the young person following the allegations, claiming that he asked “What have you done?” and told them to tell their mother to stop the investigation.
Gary Lineker, Rylan Clark, Jeremy Vine and Nicky Campbell are among the BBC stars to have publicly stated that they are not the presenter in question.
Campbell suggested he had contacted police about being falsely mentioned online in connection with the story.
He tweeted a screenshot which featured the Metropolitan Police logo and the words: “Thank you for contacting the Metropolitan Police Service to report your crime.”
“I think it’s important to take a stand. There’s just too many of these people on social media. Thanks for your support friends,” he wrote.
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