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BBC faces fresh allegation against unnamed presenter from young person – report

The presenter was suspended following reports he had paid a teenager thousands of pounds for sexually explicit images.

LAST UPDATE | Jul 11th 2023, 5:29 PM

THE BBC PRESENTER facing allegations of paying a teenager for sexually explicit photos also sent threatening messages to a different person in their early 20s, the broadcaster has reported.

The fresh allegations add further pressure for the BBC as it deals with the fallout from separate claims made against the unnamed male presenter and first reported by the Sun newspaper at the weekend.

According to the BBC, the presenter at the centre of the new allegations met the young person on a dating app before their conversations moved to other platforms.

He then revealed his identity and asked the young person not to tell anyone, BBC News reported.

The young person later posted online alluding to having had contact with the presenter and hinted they might name him.

He then allegedly sent a number of “threatening messages”, which the BBC says it has seen and confirmed came from a phone number belonging to the presenter.

The BBC said the young person felt “threatened” by the messages and “remains scared”.

BBC News said it had contacted the presenter via his lawyer, but had received no response to the allegations.

The Sun first made allegations on Friday about the unnamed presenter in which it says a young person – who the broadcaster said is not connected to the person in the BBC report – was paid around £35,000 over three years, from the age of 17, for explicit images.

Earlier, director-general Tim Davie said he has ordered a review to “assess how some complaints are red flagged up the organisation”.

Davie said he was first informed of the allegations seven weeks after the family first complained about the presenter to the BBC, when the newspaper said it would be publishing its front-page story.

He told reporters this was because there was no response to the attempts to make contact and investigators could not verify the claims.

The corporation has also been asked to pause its internal investigation into the allegations “while the police scope future work” following a meeting with the Metropolitan Police.

A statement from the broadcaster said: “As a result of this meeting, the BBC has been asked to pause its investigations into the allegations while the police scope future work.”

It added: “The BBC has processes and protocols for receiving information and managing complaints when they are first made. We always take these matters extremely seriously and seek to manage them with the appropriate duty of care.

“The events of recent days have shown how complex and challenging these kinds of cases can be and how vital it is that they are handled with the utmost diligence and care.

“There will, of course, be lessons to be learned following this exercise.”

Davie said he has asked Leigh Tavaziva, the BBC Group chief operating officer, to assess whether its protocols and procedures are appropriate in light of the case.

Speaking at a press conference about the BBC’s annual report, Mr Davie said: “Of course there will be lessons to be learned, and how processes could be improved.

“Immediately I have asked that we assess how some complaints are red flagged up the organisation.

“We will take time to properly review the current protocols and procedures to ensure they remain sufficient based on anything we learn from this case.”

The young person at the centre of the controversy has said nothing inappropriate or unlawful happened with the unnamed presenter, although their mother told The Sun they stand by the claims.

In a letter reported by BBC News At Six, the young person said via a lawyer: “For the avoidance of doubt, nothing inappropriate or unlawful has taken place between our client and the BBC personality and the allegations reported in The Sun newspaper are ‘rubbish’.”

The legal representative also said the young person told The Sun on Friday evening before the newspaper published the story that there was “no truth to it”, the BBC reported.

The lawyer reportedly called the article on the front page “inappropriate”, claiming in the letter that the mother and the young person are estranged.

BBC News said it does not know the identity of the young person and has not spoken to them directly, but that the letter was sent by a multinational law firm.

In a statement about the BBC presenter, a Met Police spokesperson said: “We have asked the BBC to pause its own investigation while we continue our assessment to establish whether there is evidence of a criminal offence being committed.

“The assessment is being led by detectives from the Met’s specialist crime command and follows a virtual meeting with representatives from the BBC on the morning of Monday July 10.

“There remains no police investigation at this time.”

Press Association