‘We imagine that they are desperately trying to persuade the presenter concerned to actually say something’
The BBC will be “desperately attempting” to convince the presenter accused of paying a teenager for explicit images to come forward, a former correspondent at the broadcaster has suggested.
On Saturday the Sun revealed the household name, who has been suspended but not identified, was accused of paying a teen £35,000 for sexual pictures since they were 17. The youngster is said to have used the money to buy crack cocaine.
The young person’s family complained to the BBC on 19 May and begged them to make the man “stop sending the cash”, before contacting The Sun.
The broadcaster is now coming under fire for not acting sooner, with the presenter only being stood down in recent days. He has also reportedly contacted the young person, now 20, twice since the story broke, asking that the investigation be stopped.
On Monday, the BBC’s former legal correspondent, Joshua Rozenberg, told Sky News that he thinks the broadcaster will be attempting to convince the presenter to “say something” soon.
“We imagine that they are desperately trying to persuade the presenter concerned to actually say something, but if he is choosing not to, presumably on legal advice, then they have a risk,” he told the broadcaster.
“They have a duty to their presenter who works for them, they have a duty to the public to let them know what’s going on”.
Rozenberg also spoke about the police investigation into the matter. The BBC is due to meet the Met today over the allegations.
Rozenberg said he suspected the Met’s inquiries are at “very, very early stages”.
“Clearly, any investigation and any prosecution is a long way off,” he said.
The claims come as home secretary Suella Braverman has urged the public to be patience, saying the BBC investigation should be allowed to play out before the public “jump to any conclusions”.
“I think it is right that we allow the process to play out in the proper way, the BBC has announced that they are carrying out an internal investigation to establish the facts,” she told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
She added: “[It’s] important to let that play out before we jump to any conclusions.”
The young person’s family are now said to be unhappy with the wording of a statement the corporation made Sunday announcing that a staff member had been suspended and that it was working as fast as possible “to establish the facts in order to properly inform appropriate next steps”.
The BBC is set to meet with the Met Police on Monday to “discuss the matter” – the BBC reported.
The Met said it has “received initial contact” from the BBC over the claims but no formal referral or allegation has been made.
It was also claimed Sunday that the presenter had attended an awards ceremony along with BBC bosses last month
BBC director general Tim Davie claimed the presenter was dropped after “new allegations” came to light.
Labour’s Rachel Reeves said: “The BBC needs to get a grip. We seem to lurch from one scandal to another.”
The shadow chancellor added to the Mirror: “The idea that some presenters think they can act with impunity and get away with these sorts of things calls into question the ethics, the investigations, how long these things take. When serious allegations are made I don’t think it is right that people stay in those jobs while investigations go on. There needs to be a full investigation.”
Several BBC stars including Jeremy Vine, Nicky Campbell, Gary Lineker and Rylan Clark have publicly stated they are not the presenter involved.