BBC star at centre of ‘sex pics scandal’ is ‘extremely angry’ – as presenter faces allegations from FOUR people including claims he ‘sent Instagram messages to teenage follower and broke lockdown rules to meet person he met on dating app’
- The presenter met with a dating app user in February 2021, according to reports
The BBC star at the centre of the sex pictures scandal is ‘extremely angry’, a former colleague said today – as a fourth young person came forward to air allegations about the presenter.
The unnamed presenter, who has been engulfed in scandal following claims he paid a teenager £35,000 for sexually explicit photographs, is accused of defying the third national lockdown for an encounter with a different person in 2021 while the BBC was at the same time telling millions of people to follow the rules as part of its coverage of the pandemic.
The scandal continued to grow last night as a fourth person came forward to claim he had sent them ‘creepy’ messages using love hearts and kisses on Instagram when they were 17 years old – though it is not known if the presenter knew their age at the time.
Last night, former BBC presenter Jon Sopel weighed in on the scandal, telling his News Agents podcast that the unnamed BBC presenter is ‘extremely angry’ over the allegations.
Meanwhile, one senior BBC insider described the mood inside New Broadcasting House as increasingly ‘fraught’. He told the Times: ‘Everyone feels a bit blindsided. People are deeply frustrated that the BBC has become the story. Tim’s comments today helped to clear up some of the questions but he still hasn’t answered everything.’
The unnamed BBC presenter allegedly met a stranger from a dating site in February 2021. Pictured: BBC New Broadcasting House in London
Radio 2 host Jeremy Vine has called on the presenter to identify himself to stop other BBC stars from being defamed.
He said: ‘He should now come forward publicly. These new allegations will result in yet more vitriol being thrown at perfectly innocent colleagues of his. And the BBC, which I’m sure he loves, is on its knees with this.’
Yesterday, on the heels of the original allegations that the unnamed star had paid the teenager for explicit photos, a second person said they had been sent abusive messages after meeting on a dating app and a third person said they had met the presenter.
The third person said they met up after months of interactions, and that the presenter sent them £650 in cash and asked them for a picture, The Sun reports.
The third stranger claims the presenter travelled into a different county to meet them at their flat in February 2021 when rules included a stay at home order and mixing only between household bubbles.
The person claimed at the meeting, which came months after they started talking on the dating site in November 2020, ‘he came round for an hour…. We just chatted. He was obsessed with me making him a cup of tea.’
In an interview with the newspaper, the person claims they met on account that didn’t have a picture of the presenter but they ‘put two and two together’ when the BBC star told him his name and what he did for a living.
They said that the host was eager to meet face-to-face, and was asking to do this even when the restrictions ‘kept getting stricter’ as the pandemic continued.
However, when they turned down chances to meet the BBC presenter, he allegedly sent ‘a barrage of messages’ saying he ‘felt unwanted’.
The 23-year-old claims that when they did meet he ‘came round for an hour’.
Tim Davie, director general of the BBC, revealed today he has not spoken with the presenter at the centre of the scandal. Pictured: Mr Davie at a service celebrating the 75th anniversary of the NHS at Westminster Abbey
They told The Sun: ‘I was quite shocked that he broke the rules to come and meet me because of who he is. I was just a random person online.
‘We just chatted. He was obsessed with me making him a cup of tea.’
The newspaper claims to have a sworn statement from the dating site user claiming they received a payment of £200 – sent on the day of the visit – and another two of £200 and £250 by PayPal from the presenter.
They said: ‘He gave me cash three times. Although he started to make me feel like he owned me because he was giving me money. He was always talking about his career and was very arrogant.’
They added that they began to feel ‘used’ and ‘uncomfortable’ by the TV star’s behaviour and demanding messages.
BBC reveals its timeline of events
- The complainant (a family member) attended a BBC building, where they sought to make a complaint about the behaviour of a BBC presenter.
- The complainant contacted BBC Audience Services; the details of this contact were referred to the BBC’s Corporate Investigations Team.
- The BBC’s Corporate Investigations Team assessed the information contained in the complaint provided from Audience Services. The assessment made was that on the basis of the information provided it did not include an allegation of criminality, but nonetheless merited further investigation.
- The BBC’s Corporate Investigations Team emailed the complainant stating how seriously the BBC takes the issue and seeking additional information to verify the claims being made; there was no response to this contact.
- Checks were also made to verify the identity of the complainant. This is a standard procedure to confirm that the complainant is the person they say they are.
- Having received no response to the email referenced above, a phone call was made to the mobile number provided by the complainant to the BBC’s Corporate Investigations Team; this call did not connect.
- Following these attempts to make contact with the complainant, the Corporate Investigations Team were due to return to the matter in the coming weeks. No additional attempts to contact the complainant were made after 6 June, however the case remained open throughout.
- The Sun newspaper informed the BBC via the Corporate Press Office of allegations concerning a BBC presenter; it became clear that the source of the claims was from the same family as approached the BBC on 18 and 19 May. This was the first time that the Director-General or any executive directors at the BBC were aware of the case.
- The claims made by The Sun contained new allegations, that were different to the matters being considered by BBC Corporate Investigations.
- The BBC initiated an incident management group to lead the response to this case, involving senior BBC executives including the Director-General. The Acting Chairman was updated, and the Board was regularly updated in the coming days.
- A senior manager held the first conversation on this matter with the presenter concerned, to make him aware of the claims being outlined by The Sun. It was agreed that the presenter would not be on air while this matter was being considered.
- Following The Sun’s contact, the BBC’s Corporate Investigations team contacted the complainant again, who was in touch with the BBC’s investigators.
- The BBC’s Serious Case Management Framework (SCMF) was initiated and the investigation being undertaken by the Corporate Investigations Team was brought into the SCMF, which is chaired by a Human Resources Director.
- The BBC also made contact with the Police with regard to this matter.
- The complainant sent the BBC some materials related to the complaint.
- BBC issued an update to staff and the media; the BBC also confirmed that it had suspended the presenter.
- The BBC met with the Police, to report the matter and discuss how to progress the investigation.
- The Police have requested that the BBC pause its investigations into the allegations while they scope future work.
They said they wanted people to ‘know the truth’ about the presenter, adding: ‘It is complete hypocrisy of the BBC star. He thought he was above everybody else.
‘The BBC points the finger at others who do wrong but their big star was happy to act like the rules don’t apply to him.’
The Sun said it had contacted the BBC and the presenter in question over the claims.
And last night the paper claimed it had been contacted by a fourth person who alleged the BBC star had contacted them out of the blue on their Instagram account and used kisses and love hearts in messages to them when they were 17 years old.
The individual, who is now 22, told The Sun the man sent them a love heart emoji in October 2018 without ever having spoken to him before.
This was followed by sporadic messages between the pair, with the person even advising them to take part in a BBC school scheme when given the opportunity.
They told The Sun: ‘Looking back now it does seem creepy because he was messaging me when I was still at school.
‘In light of everything now, I feel shocked because as a broadcaster it is a name everyone would trust.
‘I had no reason to think it was anything beyond that at that time.’
They added: ‘Knowing what I know now, I feel I was a bit naive.’
In their later conversations, including when school was mentioned, the presenter stopped using love hearts and emojis, with the youngster adding: ‘In light of what I know now, it feels as though when he realised I was not flirtatious back, he changed in the way he would reply.’
It comes after allegations the presenter had sent abusive and menacing messages to a different person in their 20s after meeting them on a dating app.
They claim they were put under pressure to meet with the star but never did, the BBC reported.
When they hinted online that they might name them, they allege they were sent abusive messages that were filled with expletives.
The new claims raise further questions about the star’s conduct less than a week after The Sun newspaper reported allegations that he paid a teenager £35,000 for sexually explicit pictures, starting when they were 17.
The person involved has said there was no wrongdoing and the claims are ‘rubbish’.
BBC Director General Tim Davie today denied it is ‘odd’ that he is yet to speak to the star.
According to the BBC, the conversation between the person in their 20s and the presenter moved onto other platforms after beginning on a dating app.
The presenter then revealed his identity and asked the young person not to tell anyone.
The young person later posted online alluding to having had contact with a BBC presenter and hinting they might name him.
The presenter then sent a number of ‘threatening messages’ which the BBC says it has seen and confirmed came from a phone number belonging to the presenter.
The BBC said the young person felt ‘threatened’ by the messages and ‘remains scared’.
BBC News said it had contacted the presenter via his lawyer but had received no response to the allegations.
Earlier today, Mr Davie also suggested the privacy of the star was a consideration in why the corporation did not speak to the household name until almost two months after they first received a complaint from the teenager’s family.
He defended the seven-week delay between the initial complaint and confronting the presenter, insisting that the claims had to be verified first before being put to staff.
But he admitted it was ‘fair’ to question why the ‘very serious’ complaint was only followed up by a single call and email to the teenager’s parents.
Asked if it was ‘odd’ that he himself has not chatted to the presenter, Davie replied: ‘No’, adding: ‘I think it is critical they are spoken to by a very senior manager’.
He was also asked if he knew ‘categorically’ whether or not the star paid for the alleged victim’s lawyer.
He said: ‘That’s not information I am party to. I don’t even think that’s something for the BBC.’
But he did admit that the scandal had been ‘clearly damaging’ to the corporation’s reputation.
‘The BBC is often in the midst of quite painful and difficult affairs and storms,’ he said before adding: ‘These are clearly damaging to the BBC it, is not a good situation.’
In a major update on the case, Mr Davie also said he had ‘paused’ their internal investigation while the police consider if any crimes have been committed after a meeting with Scotland Yard yesterday.
It’s claimed the BBC star broke lockdown rules to take part in the meeting at a 23-year-old’s flat. Pictured: A sign urging people to ‘stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives’ in London
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