BBC presenter scandal: Timeline leading up to star’s suspension - what we know so far
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A leading BBC presenter has been suspended after it is claimed that he paid a teenager in return for sexually explicit pictures over the course of three years. The male presenter , who is said to be a “household name”, however, remains unidentified since the news broke on Friday night (July 7).
The Sun, the newspaper that originally reported the allegations, claimed the man spent more than £35,000 since the youth was 17. It is alleged the money went towards the youngster sustaining a crack cocaine addiction, which the mother claimed had "destroyed" her child’s life.
The mum said she first made a complaint to the BBC on May 19, but was frustrated to see the presenter was “still on air” a month later. This resulted in her approaching the newspaper instead.
The Sun has published three front pages on the allegations: the first details the host allegedly paying the teen for sexualized pictures, the second describes the host ‘stripping down to his underwear’ during a video call with the teen, and the third details the host’s two ‘panicked calls’ to the teen, during which he demands the mum stop the investigation against him.
In a statement on Sunday, the BBC said the presenter had been suspended, with the corporation receiving “new allegations of a different nature” in addition to their own investigations. Below is the timeline of events leading up to the suspension of the BBC presenter in question.
Timeline of events
May 19: The family of the complainant allegedly requested that the broadcaster order the individual to "stop sending the cash". The family reportedly got frustrated when the presenter was still on the air a month later. In a statement, the BBC stated that it "first became aware of a complaint in May."
June: According to The Sun, the youth receives a £1,000 payment from the host via PayPal in June. Their mother stated that they "suddenly had this cash" after running out of money. She claimed the BBC hadn’t spoken to the host “as they thought he was too important”.
July 6: The BBC receives "new allegations" of a "different nature" - but the broadcaster does not reveal any further details.
July 7: The Sun released a bombshell exclusive, claiming the presenter is "a familiar face who is known to millions" and is also paid a six-figure salary by the BBC.
In the interview, the youth’s mother claimed that the presenter requested "performances" and that she had seen bank account statements showing payments totalling more than £35,000 - including one lump sum of £5,000.
The youth, now aged 20, had used the presenter’s money to fuel a drug addiction, the mother said.
The BBC responded to the article saying: "We treat any allegations very seriously and we have processes in place to proactively deal with them." It said it would "take steps" to investigate further "if we receive information", including "actively attempting to speak to those who have contacted us in order to seek further detail and understanding of the situation".
July 8: A number of BBC presenters took to social media to deny they are the star in question. They include Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two star Rylan Clark, BBC Radio 2 host, Jeremy Vine, BBC sports broadcaster Gary Lineker and BBC Radio 5 Live host, Nicky Campbell.
On Saturday evening, The Sun published an update to its allegations. It claimed that the youth’s mother had seen images of the presenter sitting on his sofa in his underwear. The picture was reportedly taken during a video call between the pair.
Former home secretary Priti Patel called for a "full and transparent investigation", calling the BBC "faceless" and an "unaccountable organisation" on social media.
July 9: A male presenter is suspended from duties and BBC contact police over allegations. In a statement, it said the situation was "complex and fast moving" and the corporation is "working as quickly as possible to establish the facts".
A statement said: "New allegations were put to us on Thursday of a different nature and in addition to our own enquiries we have also been in touch with external authorities, in line with our protocols.”
Later that evening, The Sun released another report claiming the host had made ‘two panicked calls’ to the young person and demanded their mum’s stop the investigation against him.