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Stephen Nolan says he's 'deeply sorry' after report he sent sexually explicit images to staff

On Tuesday, the Irish News reported claims that Nolan sent two sexually explicit images of another person to staff working on his radio and TV shows.

BBC PRESENTER STEPHEN Nolan has said he is “deeply sorry” after a newspaper in Northern Ireland this week published a number of reports about his behaviour.

On Tuesday, the Irish News reported claims that Nolan sent two sexually explicit images of another person to staff working on his radio and TV shows. 

The paper further reported claims, which they said were made by a former team member from one of Nolan’s shows, of bullying and harassment against the presenter, and that messages were sent between team members on BBC NI shows that included remarks about politicians, including former Sinn Féin Minister and MLA Martina Anderson.  

The Irish News reported that the internal complaints made by the former staff member were not upheld when investigated by BBC NI. 

So far this week, Nolan had presented his morning radio programme as usual, without making reference to the allegations. 

However, speaking on his morning radio show today, he said: “We have had days, as you probably know, of headlines about me and the Nolan team in the papers this week.

“I am not ignoring the story. It is just that the BBC has processes in place to deal with staff complaints and I do and need to totally respect those processes. They have got to be confidential for them to work.

“I can say one thing though and it is that I am sorry.

“There was a photograph, it was widely available on the internet and I was talking to a long-term friend and peer outside of work. I am deeply sorry.”

Earlier this week, BBC News NI said that Nolan refused to comment on the allegations when he was contacted through the organisation’s press office. 

Adam Smyth, the director of BBC NI gave a statement during the week, in which he said: “There are important considerations of fairness and confidentiality involved in the handling of any workplace-related complaint.

“We take these obligations seriously – and in the interests of everyone involved.

“It is for these reasons that we cannot comment on the specifics of any individual case, who/what it may have involved or its outcome.” 

Political reaction

Politicians in the North have roundly called for BBC NI to take further action in response to the reported claims. 

A spokesperson for Sinn Féin said that the reported revelation’s raised “very serious questions” for BBC management, “which need to be answered candidly”. 

The DUP’s Gregory Campbell also called for the BBC to take action. He said that ultimately, this is an issue of “how public money is used in Northern Ireland and it deserves the same level of scrutiny and questioning”.

Campbell added that “radio silence” from the BBC “just won’t cut it”. 

“There are significant multi-layered issues that have been highlighted and all of which deserve a full response from the BBC,” he said. 

O’Muirigh Solicitors – the firm representing politician Martina Anderson – said that on receipt of the “personal data” relating to their client, they will further advise her on any “legal remedies” she may have relating to the matter. 

Nolan is one of the top-billed stars across the entire BBC organisation, and the fifth highest paid presenter on the broadcaster’s books. 

With reporting by Eimer McAuley and Press Association