The BBC said it takes allegations “very seriously” that one of its top presenters paid a teenager tens of thousands of pounds for sexual imagery.
British tabloid The sun reported on Friday night that the unnamed male star is off the air while the BBC investigates the issue.
The newspaper claimed the presenter gave the teenager more than £35,000 ($45,000) in exchange for explicit pictures. It said the exchange began in 2020 when the teenager was 17.
The sun said it was contacted by the teen’s mother, who said she didn’t want payment for telling her story.
She told the newspaper that she filed a complaint with the BBC on May 19. The company launched an investigation led by a cybercrime expert, but the moderator stayed on the air.
The mother claimed her child used the money to fund his crack cocaine use. “I blame that BBC man for ruining my child’s life,” she was quoted as saying.
She said the presenter did little to hide his identity and demanded “appearances”. Bank records show the teenager was once paid a lump sum of £5,000.
The mother added: “It was huge sums of money, hundreds or thousands of pounds at a time… The money had been in exchange for sexually explicit photos of my child.”
A BBC spokesman said: “We take all allegations very seriously and have processes in place to deal with them proactively.”
“If we receive information that requires further investigation or review, we will take appropriate action. This includes actively trying to speak to those who have contacted us to gain more detail and an understanding of the situation.
“If we don’t receive a response to our attempts or no longer receive further contact, it may limit our ability to move things forward, but it does not mean that our inquiries will cease. If at any time new information comes to light or is transmitted – including via newspapers – it will be reacted to according to the internal processes.