Here’s what we know about BBC’s alleged sexual abuse scandal—as another accuser comes forward

World News

BBC News reported Tuesday (local time) a new person has accused an unnamed BBC presenter of “menacing and bullying behaviour,” just days after a tabloid story alleging a well-known host paid a 17-year-old for explicit photos launched a scandal at the decades-old broadcaster and prompted a raft of speculation.
BBC sign on building exterior

The BBC in London, England pictured in June 2023. Photo by Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

Key Takeaways
  • The BBC reported it has received additional evidence of misconduct by the presenter, after someone in their 20s who was contacted by the personality via a dating app was later sent “abusive, expletive-filled messages” when they hinted online they might come forward with the presenter’s name.
  • The new allegations “raise fresh questions about his conduct,” the BBC said, adding its corporate investigations unit is looking into the latest claims.
  • Allegations against the still-unnamed presenter first emerged last week, when The Sun newspaper reported a mother claimed they paid her 17-year-old child £35,000 (AUD$67,000) for explicit photos, and the child then used that money to “destroy” their life by buying crack cocaine.
  • The article alleges the family reported the claims to the BBC back in May, and the broadcaster’s corporate investigations team looked into it, but the BBC has said the investigation stalled when attempts to reach the family for more information were unsuccessful.
  • In the days since the initial article published Friday, a lawyer for the alleged victim—who is unnamed—has written to the BBC to say the claims were “totally wrong” and further claimed the victim contacted the Sun immediately to refute the “rubbish” accusations.
  • The Sun has since published an article saying the parents stand by their claims and have given the newspaper sworn affidavits.
  • The BBC Monday said it met with Metropolitan Police about the accusations, and authorities asked the company to stop its internal investigation while they “scope future work.”

In its own timeline of events, BBC News said the broadcaster sent the family a follow-up email about the claims the day after they were brought forward in May, but received no response. The company then tried calling the mother’s provided cell phone number almost a month later but it “didn’t connect.”


British media outlets have not named the accused presenter, but The Sun claims he is “well-known” and was taken off the air, leading to widespread speculation about his identity. BBC Director-General Tim Davie told staff “individuals are entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy” during an investigation, the Guardian reported, adding that the legal risk of libel likely outweighs the benefits of linking someone to the claims publicly.

Big Number

5. That’s how many BBC presenters have come forward to deny their involvement: Rylan Clark, Jeremy Vine, Gary Lineker, Nicky Campbell and Nihal Arthanayake.

Chief Critic

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Tuesday told journalists at the NATO summit in Lithuania that the allegations against the unnamed BBC producer were “shocking and concerning,” Deadline reported.

Key Background

Davie on Tuesday said the BBC accepts there are “lessons to be learned following this exercise” after the company confirmed it knew about the claims for months before the Sun article was published. The BBC said no more attempts to reach out were made but the case “remained open.” The broadcaster—which is publicly funded but independent from the government—was criticized in 2012 after news outlets reported BBC officials knew about serial sex abuse perpetrated by media personality Jimmy Savile and did little to investigate accusations over four decades. Harriet Harman, then deputy leader of the Labour Party, said the handling of the scandal “cast a stain” on the BBC.

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