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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

New twist in BBC sexting scandal

A presenter who allegedly paid the teen thousands of pounds for explicit ‘performances’ supposedly begged her family to stop the probe

The purported victim at the center of a burgeoning underage sexting scandal at the BBC, reportedly contacted the British state broadcaster through her lawyer on Monday to deny her parents’ claims that she was paid tens of thousands of pounds for explicit photos and videos by a “household name” network presenter.

“Nothing inappropriate or unlawful” took place between the child and the presenter, the letter claims. The lurid saga, published on Friday by UK tabloid The Sun is “totally wrong and there was no truth to it,” the alleged victim has insisted.

Read more: BBC suspends presenter after explicit images allegations

The parents, who told the Sun that they went public to protect their child after the BBC seemed to do nothing about their initial allegations, have stood by their version of events. They told The Sun they are “disappointed” that their child made a statement they insist is “not true.” The Sun has urged the BBC to “properly investigate” the claims.

The presenter – a “familiar face who is known to millions” with a six-figure salary at the BBC – made multiple “panicked” calls to the young woman asking “what have you done?” and urging her to speak to her estranged mother in order to squash the investigation, after he was let go from the network, according to The Sun.

The unnamed celebrity is said to have paid the young woman a total of £35,000 over a three-year period beginning when she was 17 for lewd images and videos. According to her parents, the regular deposits to her bank account soon funded a crack cocaine habit they claimed ruined their daughter’s life.

Read more: Ukraine considered destroying all bridges around Kiev – BBC

The family allegedly complained to the BBC in May, urging the broadcaster to stop sending their daughter money, only for her to receive a £1,000 payment via PayPal the following month. The mother claimed to have “immediately recognized” the presenter when she saw an image of him “in his underwear” taken from a video call with her daughter.

BBC director-general Tim Davie confirmed an employee had been suspended on Sunday, explaining that the network had learned on Thursday of “new allegations of a different nature” compared to what the parents initially told them in May, and that it is taking them “incredibly seriously.” 

The Metropolitan Police had not opened an investigation into the suspended presenter as of Monday morning, according to a statement.

The BBC has a record of employing and harboring child abusers, infamously having apparently covered up for Jimmy Savile, who is believed to have abused as many as 450 children over his five-decade career at the state broadcaster. Stuart Hall and Rolf Harris also abused children while employed at the BBC, subsequently serving sentences for indecent assault.