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

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The BBC’s director-general will face the media today as the scandal 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.

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

Their lawyer added that 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 legal representation.

Meanwhile, their stepfather has accused the BBC of “not telling the truth” – and claimed the broadcaster had 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 went on to claim that the BBC 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, which first broke the story on Saturday, 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 had “destroyed” their life, according to their mother.

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

The Metropolitan Police have been called in over the claims but are yet to open a criminal investigation, with a statement saying the force is “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 publication of allegations in the press, the presenter reportedly contacted the young person involved – phoning them and asking: “What have you done?”

A number of high-profile presenters at the BBC – including the likes of 5 Live’s Nicky Campbell, Eurovision’s Rylan and Top Gear’s Paddy McGuinness – have all been forced to publicly deny it is them who have been suspended, after social media users named them online.

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