TO UPDATE: The UK government has urged the BBC to “urgently and sensitively” investigate allegations that one of its biggest stars paid a teenager to take sexually explicit pictures.
In a statement early Sunday afternoon, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said the claims were “deeply concerning” and called on the BBC to update ministers on its actions.
“As a public broadcaster receiving public funding, senior officials have told the BBC that there is an urgent and sensitive need to investigate the allegations.” [DCMS] kept updated,” the department said.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer and BBC Director-General Tim Davie will hold talks later today.
PREVIOUS: The mysterious BBC presenter, who is at the center of a sex pictures scandal, was the subject of new allegations on Sunday amid a growing crisis for the British national broadcaster.
tabloid The sun claimed the unnamed star appeared in a video call with a teenager in her underwear. It follows previous revelations that the star allegedly paid the young person tens of thousands of pounds for explicit pictures, with the exchange dating back to 2020 when the person was 17.
The sun bases its reporting on allegations by the teenager’s mother. She reportedly signed an affidavit to support her claims and did not ask for payment for telling her story. No one involved in the story has been named.
Deadline spoke to multiple BBC and industry sources about the presenter’s identity on Saturday and one person’s name came up repeatedly. At least four other presenters, including Gary Lineker, have had to deny they are the mystery star amid wild and defamatory speculation on social media.
The mother told The sun that she saw a picture of the BBC presenter in his underwear on her child’s phone “leaning forward and preparing for my child to perform for him”. The sun did not say it saw the image, nor did it claim to have had direct views of other evidence.
“I loved watching him on TV so I was shocked when I saw a picture of him in his underwear sitting on a sofa at his house. I recognized him immediately,” said the mother The sun. She said her child used the star’s money to fund a drug addiction.
The woman also claimed that she once overheard a phone conversation between the presenter and her child. “Earlier this year I heard him on the phone saying to my kid, ‘I told you not to fucking call me.’ It was shocking,” she said.
The BBC has no further comment than a statement on Friday, in which it said it took the allegations “very seriously”. The broadcaster is under increasing pressure to provide answers on how it is handling the matter.
The teenager’s mother filed a complaint against the presenter with the BBC on May 19. He continued to present high-profile BBC programs until just a few days ago. The star is now off the air as the scandal worsens, but Deadline understands he hasn’t been officially suspended.
Caroline Dinenage, Chair of the UK Parliament’s influential Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said the BBC had “some very serious questions to answer”. registered mail The sunShe added, “It is important that television companies have processes in place to ensure these ‘gods of broadcasting’ do not abuse their disproportionate hold over the careers of others.”
Rachel Reeves, the Labor Party’s shadow chancellor, told the BBC that the group needs to “get right” and “get more clarity on what on earth happened in this case and what they are doing to put things right.” bring.” “
There are also questions as to whether the BBC contacted the police as the teenager was said to be 17 when they first came into contact with the presenter.
Under UK Child Protection Act, it is a criminal offense to “take, distribute, possess or display inappropriate images of anyone under the age of 18, even if the content was created with that young person’s consent”.
The BBC 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.
BBC director general Tim Davie will face the press on Tuesday when the channel releases its annual report.