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BBC presenter scandal: Director-general to face media as controversy deepens | UK News

BBC presenter scandal: Director-general to face media as controversy deepens | UK News

The BBC’s director-general will face the media today as the controversy over a top presenter deepens.

Tim Davie will speak to journalists as he unveils the broadcaster’s annual report, which is set to reveal how much its biggest stars are paid.

But the briefing will likely be overshadowed by questions about the unnamed celebrity who has been suspended amid allegations he paid a teenager for sexually explicit photographs.

There is speculation MPs may use parliamentary privilege to name the presenter in the Commons – something cabinet minister Mel Stride urged his colleagues in the chamber not to do.

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The young person at the centre of the controversy has released a statement saying nothing inappropriate or unlawful happened – describing allegations made by The Sun as “rubbish”.

Their lawyer said the 20-year-old is estranged from their mother and stepfather, who made the claims to the newspaper.

In response, the young person’s mother told The Sun she stood by her claims, alleged the presenter “has got into their head”, and questioned how they were able to afford lawyers.

Meanwhile, their stepfather accused the BBC of “not telling the truth” and claimed it lied when it said “new allegations” had led to the presenter’s suspension.

“I told them the youngster was 20 and it had been going on for three years. It’s not hard to do the maths,” he said.

“I told the BBC I had gone to the police in desperation but they couldn’t do anything as they said it wasn’t illegal. They knew all of this.”

He claimed the BBC had ignored emails sent on 19 May that allegedly included bank statements showing payments made by the presenter.

The BBC earlier confirmed it had received a complaint in May.

Read more:
Why aren’t journalists naming the presenter?
Everything we know so far
Presenter should only be named after ‘full’ investigation – justice secretary

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BBC presenter claims are ‘totally wrong’

What are the allegations?

According to The Sun, the presenter paid the young person about £35,000 in exchange for sexually explicit images during a three-year period.

He allegedly began requesting the images in 2020 when the individual was 17 years old and made a series of payments over the years.

The individual had reportedly used the money to fund an addiction to crack cocaine that “destroyed” their life, according to their mother.

It was also alleged the presenter stripped to his underwear during a video call.

The Metropolitan Police has been called in but is yet to open a criminal investigation.

It says it’s “assessing the information… and further enquiries are taking place to establish whether there is evidence of a criminal offence being committed”.

While The Sun has not revealed the name of the star, they have said he is paid a six-figure salary and is currently off air.

Following the allegations, the presenter reportedly contacted the young person involved – phoning them and asking: “What have you done?”

Will MPs name the presenter?

High-profile presenters including the likes of 5 Live’s Nicky Campbell, Eurovision’s Rylan and Top Gear’s Paddy McGuinness have all been forced to deny they are the one suspended after social media users named them online.

If MPs do name the person in the House of Commons, they could do so using parliamentary privilege – a freedom of speech rule that gives them legal immunity.

However, Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride told Sky’s Kay Burley he didn’t think it was a good idea.

“I would personally certainly not be doing that,” said the MP, adding that privilege “should be used very sparingly and with great thought”.

Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, agreed and said he believed the BBC should be allowed to go on with its investigation.

He told Sky News: “I don’t think it’s helpful for politicians to be offering a running commentary or making statements in the House of Commons about who this person might be or might not be.”

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