Young person at centre of BBC presenter controversy says allegations are ‘rubbish’ – lawyer
The young person at the centre of the BBC controversy said nothing inappropriate or unlawful happened with the unnamed presenter and the allegations are “rubbish”, their lawyer said in a letter to the broadcaster.
A male member of BBC staff has been suspended after The Sun newspaper reported he paid a young person around £35,000 over three years, from the age of 17, for explicit images.
In a letter reported by BBC News At Six, the young person said via a lawyer: “For the avoidance of doubt, nothing inappropriate or unlawful has taken place between our client and the BBC personality and the allegations reported in The Sun newspaper are ‘rubbish’.”
The legal representative also said the young person told The Sun on Friday evening before the newspaper published the story that there was “no truth to it”, the BBC reported.
The lawyer called the article on the front page “inappropriate”, the news show said.
BBC News said it does know the identity of the young person and has not spoken to them directly, but that the letter was sent by a multinational law firm.
Police said they are carrying out further inquiries to establish whether any crime has been committed after BBC representatives met detectives on Monday morning.
A spokesperson for 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.”
The mother and stepfather of the young person stood by their allegation, and questioned how their child could afford the lawyer, The Sun reported.
The newspaper reported that the mother said: “It is sad but we stand by our account and we hope they get the help they need.
“We did this to help – and the presenter has got into their head. How did they afford a lawyer?”
The mother earlier told the newspaper she saw a picture of the presenter on her child’s phone “sitting on a sofa in his house in his underwear”.
The mother said she was told it was “a picture from some kind of video call” and looked like he was “getting ready for my child to perform for him”.
The family were said to have complained to the BBC on May 19, but allegedly became frustrated that the star remained on air.
Earlier today, the newspaper reported the presenter had made “panicked” calls to the young person following the allegations, saying he asked “What have you done?” and told them to tell their mother to stop the investigation.
The BBC said it had been investigating a complaint since May, and new claims of a “different nature” were brought to it on Thursday.
As well as being in touch with the police, the BBC is carrying out its own inquiries and talking to the young person’s family.
The Metropolitan Police said: “Detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command met with representatives from the BBC on the morning of July 10. The meeting took place virtually.
“They are assessing the information discussed at the meeting and further enquiries are taking place to establish whether there is evidence of a criminal offence being committed.
“There is no investigation at this time.”
BBC director-general Tim Davie is due to face the media on Tuesday for a scheduled briefing following the release of the corporation’s annual report.
In a note to staff on Sunday, he said: “The BBC became aware of a complaint in May; the BBC investigations team have been looking into this since it was raised and have been actively following up.
“New allegations, of a different nature, were put to us on Thursday, and, in addition to our own inquiries, we have also been in touch with external authorities, in line with our protocols.
“I can also confirm that we have suspended a member of staff.”
He added: “By law, individuals are entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy, which is making this situation more complex. I also want to be very clear that I am wholly condemning the unsubstantiated rumours being made on the internet about some of our presenting talent.
“We are in contact with the family referenced in the media reports. I want to assure you that we are working rapidly to establish the facts and to ensure that these matters are handled fairly and with care, including by external authorities where appropriate.”
Gary Lineker, Rylan Clark, Jeremy Vine and Nicky Campbell are among the BBC stars to have publicly stated that they are not the presenter in question.
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