BBC presenter scandal: Director-general Tim Davie to be ‘grilled’ over sex scandal in press conference
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The alleged sex scandal involving a suspended top BBC presenter and a young person is likely to dominate a press conference with the corporation’s director-general Tim Davie scheduled on Tuesday (July 11), as he addresses the broadcaster’s annual performance.
This comes after a lawyer representing the young person described the allegations against the star host as “rubbish” following The Sun’s front page report that the man had allegedly paid a teenager for sexually explicit photos over the course of three years.
The lawyer said the young person had sent a denial to The Sun about the allegations made by their mother before the newspaper published the story on Friday. But the paper proceeded to publish the “inappropriate article”, saying that it has seen evidence to back the mother’s claims.
But in a legal letter sent to the BBC on Monday, the lawyer said: “For the avoidance of doubt, nothing inappropriate or unlawful has taken place between our client and the BBC personality.” It also called the parents’ allegations “totally wrong” and claimed there was “no truth” in them.
"Nobody from the Sun newspaper appears to have made any attempt to contact our client prior to the publication of the allegations on Friday 6 July.” The lawyer also claimed in the letter that the mother and the young person were estranged.
In response, the Sun said: "We have reported a story about two very concerned parents who made a complaint to the BBC about the behaviour of a presenter and the welfare of their child. Their complaint was not acted upon by the BBC. We have seen evidence that supports their concerns. It’s now for the BBC to properly investigate."
In response to the legal letter published by the BBC, the mother and step-father spoke to The Sun in an updated interview, saying they stood by their claims. The stepfather also claimed the BBC ‘ignored’ emails sent on May 19 which allegedly included bank statements showing payments made by the presenter.
The article also reports that the step-father went to police about the matter but was told "they couldn’t do anything as they said it wasn’t illegal".
Mr Davie said in an email to BBC staff on Sunday that the corporation took the claims about its presenter "incredibly seriously".
The BBC said on Sunday that a male member of staff had been suspended but it did not identify him. The corporation said it was working as fast as possible "to establish the facts in order to properly inform appropriate next steps".
If the presenter obtained sexually explicit images of the young person when they were under 18 years old, that is a matter for investigation as a possible criminal offence. The age of consent is 16, but a person under the age of 18 is not an adult.
The Protection of Children Act 1978 says they cannot consent to taking part in "indecent photographs". The Metropolitan Police is "assessing" information from the BBC over the allegations made against the presenter but has said there is currently no investigation.
The Sun originally reported on the host’s alleged payments amounting to over £35,000 to the young person in exchange for sexualized images since they were 17, with the mother claiming the funds were used to sustain her child’s cocaine addiction.
The second report describes the host as being alleged to have ‘stripped down to his underwear’ during a video call with the young person. Meanwhile, the third report details claims the host made two ‘panicked calls’ to the young person, now aged 20, during which he is alleged to have demanded the mum stop the investigation against him.