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BBC

BBC facing increased pressure after fresh allegations about unnamed presenter

BBC News reported yesterday that a person in their early 20s has alleged that they were sent threatening messages.

THE BBC IS facing increased pressure after fresh claims emerged about an unnamed presenter who has been facing allegations over payments for sexually explicit photos.

On The Sun’s front page today, the newspaper reported a 23-year-old person has claimed the BBC presenter broke lockdown rules to meet them during the pandemic in February 2021.

Separately, BBC News reported yesterday that a person in their early 20s has alleged that they were sent threatening messages by the unnamed man.

They appear to be separate to a young person who The Sun claims was paid around £35,000 (€41,000) over three years, from the age of 17, for sexually explicit images by the presenter, who has been suspended by the BBC.

Jeremy Vine, who has publicly stated he is not the presenter in question, said on Twitter he is beginning to believe the unnamed man “should now come forward publicly” because the new allegations “will result in yet more vitriol being thrown at perfectly innocent colleagues”.

Before the fresh claims, director-general of the BBC Tim Davie ordered a review to “assess how some complaints are red flagged up the organisation”.

He said the BBC is dealing with a “complex and difficult situation” after the “serious allegations”.

The Sun’s new report claims messages seen by the paper suggest the presenter travelled from London to a different county to meet the 23-year-old at their flat in February 2021, when strict coronavirus lockdown rules were in place including a stay at home order and mixing only between household bubbles.

The young person, who claims to have met the presenter on a dating website, said the man also gave them more than £600 (€705) in three payments, which the newspaper said messages also suggest.

They told the Sun: “The BBC were briefing the nation on the rules — when their star who was part of the institution was quite happy to break them.”

The Sun said it had approached the BBC and the presenter for comment and would hand over evidence to the BBC’s investigation team.

The young person at the centre of the explicit image controversy said on Monday via a lawyer that nothing inappropriate or unlawful happened with the unnamed presenter, according to the BBC.

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.

Their mother told The Sun they stand by the claims and a spokesperson for the Sun said it is “now for the BBC to properly investigate”.

An unnamed police force confirmed it was contacted by the parents of the teenager in April, BBC News has reported, and initially “no criminality was identified”.

However, the force has since had talks with the Metropolitan Police and the BBC and “further inquiries are ongoing”.

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 spokesperson for the force said it continues to make an “assessment to establish whether there is evidence of a criminal offence being committed” and “there remains no police investigation at this time”.

A statement from the BBC said: “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.”

The corporation also released a timeline which revealed that the BBC had made two attempts to contact the family before the Sun’s front page story on Saturday.

No additional attempts to contact the complainant were made after 6 June, the corporation said.

The BBC also said the BBC’s Corporate Investigations Team (CIT) contacted the complainant again who has sent some materials related to the complaint.

tim-davie-director-general-of-the-british-broadcasting-corporation-bbc-attends-an-interview-in-tokyo-on-nov-18-2022-the-yomiuri-shimbun-via-ap-images File image of Tim Davie, Director-General of the BBC. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Davie was first informed of the allegations when the Sun said it would be publishing the story.

He told a press conference about the BBC’s annual report this was because there was no response to the attempts to make contact and investigators could not verify the claims.

Yesterday, BBC News reported a person in their early 20s – who the broadcaster said is not connected to the person in the first report by the Sun – allegedly received threatening messages from the presenter.

According to the broadcaster, the presenter met the young person on a dating app, not in person and asked the young person not to tell anyone.

The presenter 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 unnamed man.

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.

A BBC spokesperson said the corporation had nothing further to add, following the new allegations from both the BBC and The Sun.

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Press Association