The BBC has suspended one of its male staff after reports emerged that he allegedly asked a teenager for sexually explicit photos.
The allegations were first reported in the British tabloid The sun on Friday. The teen’s mother alleged that her child used the alleged £35,000 (about $44,934) she received from the staffer to fund an addiction to crack cocaine.
“All I want is for this man to stop paying my child for sexual photos and for him to stop funding my child’s drug addiction,” she told the publication, adding that the requests for photos began when her child was 17.
The staffer has not yet been publicly named, but presenters Jeremy Vine, Rylan Clark and Gary Linekar said on their respective Twitter accounts that it is not them. Nicky Campbell also tweeted that he reported an account saying he was the one who asked for the photos.
The BBC released a statement on Sunday saying it “takes all allegations seriously and we have robust internal processes in place to deal proactively with such allegations”.
It explained that the broadcaster first learned of a complaint in May, but the staffer remained on the air. Because new allegations of a different nature were shared on Thursday, the broadcaster has now contacted the police.
In a follow-up email to BBC staff, Director-General Tim Davie stressed that everyone is taking the allegations “incredibly seriously” and added that “individuals are entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy, which complicates this situation.”
The internal email continued, “I completely condemn the baseless rumors being made on the internet about some of our presenting talents. We are in contact with the family referred to in the media reports. I want to assure you that we are working quickly to establish the facts and ensure that these matters are handled fairly and diligently, including by outside authorities where necessary.”
Read the full statement from the BBC below.
The BBC takes all allegations seriously and we have robust internal processes to proactively address such allegations.
This is a complex and rapidly changing set of circumstances and the BBC is working as quickly as possible to establish the facts to properly inform the appropriate next steps.
It is important that these matters are handled fairly and carefully.
We have made it clear that if – at any time – new information comes to light or is provided to us, it will be appropriately and actively followed up on.
The BBC first became aware of a complaint in May. On Thursday, new allegations of a different nature came to us and, in addition to our own investigations, we have also been in contact with outside authorities, in accordance with our protocols.
We can also confirm that a male member of staff has been suspended.
We expect to provide further updates in the coming days as the process progresses. The BBC Board will be kept up to date.”
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