Senior British politicians on Sunday called on the BBC to investigate quickly allegations that a prominent broadcaster paid a teenager for explicit photos.
The government said Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer would hold urgent talks with the station’s CEO about the ‘deeply troubling’ allegations. So far the gender of the victim is not known.
The publicly funded national chain is under pressure after the newspaper the sun will report on the allegations that a male presenter gave a young man £35,000 ($45,000) starting in 2020 when he was just 17 years old.
Neither the star nor the teenager were identified.. Amid speculation on social media about the identity of the presenter, several of the best-known stars of the BBC they spoke to say it wasn’t them.
Although the age of sexual consent in Britain is 16, it is an offense to make or possess indecent images of anyone under the age of 18.
the sun he said the boy’s mother had complained to the BBC in May. It is unclear if any action has been taken by the station.
“We treat any allegations very seriously and have processes in place to deal with them proactively,” the network said in a statement.
“If, at any time, new information comes to light or is provided, even through newspapers, appropriate action will be taken, in accordance with internal processes,” the station added.
UK media reported that the presenter was not due to be on the air in the near future, but it was unclear if he had been suspended.
Government Minister Victoria Atkins said the accusations were “very serious”. She told Sky News that “As public attention and concern grows, the BBC will have to move very quickly to deal with these allegations and establish what they are doing to investigate them.”
Rachel Reeves, economics spokeswoman for the opposition Labor Party, said the BBC needed to “speed up its processes” and “get its house in order.”
Britain’s commercial broadcaster ITV recently faced its own scandal after Phillip Schofield, a longtime presenter on the channel’s popular morning show, resigned in May, admitting he had lied about an affair with a much younger colleague.
ITV executives were summoned to Parliament to answer questions about whether the station had a “toxic” work culture and had covered up star misconduct.
The BBC faces greater scrutiny than other broadcasters because it is funded by taxpayers and committed to remaining impartial in its news coverage. It was caught in a firestorm over free speech and political bias in March when its top sports presenter, former England soccer player Gary Lineker, criticized the government’s immigration policy on social media.
Lineker was suspended and later reinstated after other Premier League sports presenters, analysts and players boycotted the BBC’s airwaves in solidarity.
(with information from AP)
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