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World News | BBC under pressure over claims a high-profile presenter paid a teen for explicit photos


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LONDON, July 9 (AP) – Senior British politicians called on Sunday for the BBC to quickly investigate allegations that a prominent presenter paid a teenager for explicit photos.

Culture Minister Lucy Fraser held crisis talks with the broadcaster’s chief executive and said the “deeply worrying” allegations must be investigated “swiftly and sensitively”.

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The publicly funded national broadcaster is under pressure after The Sun reported that the male presenter gifted a 17-year-old £35,000 ($45,000) from 2020.

Neither the star nor the young man’s identity has been confirmed. Amid speculation on the host’s identity on social media, some of the BBC’s biggest stars have come forward to say it’s not them.

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Although the age of sexual consent in the UK is 16, it is a crime to make or possess indecent images of anyone under the age of 18.

The Sun said the young man’s mother had lodged a complaint with the BBC in May. It was not immediately clear whether the broadcaster took any action.

“We take any allegations very seriously and have processes in place to deal with them aggressively,” the BBC said in a statement.

“If at any time new information is discovered or provided (including through newspapers), we will take appropriate action in accordance with our internal processes,” the broadcaster said.

British media reports said the presenter would not be airing anytime soon, but it was unclear if he had been suspended.

Fraser said director-general Tim Davy had assured her the BBC was investigating “with speed and sensitivity”.

“Given the nature of the allegations, it is important that the BBC now has the space to investigate, establish the facts and take appropriate action. I will keep myself updated,” she wrote on social media.

Opposition Labor’s economics spokeswoman Rachel Reeves said the BBC needed to “speed up the process” and “get things in order”.

British commercial broadcaster ITV has recently faced its own scandal, with Phillip Schofield, the longtime presenter of the channel’s popular morning show, resigning in May after admitting he was in a relationship with a young Lied about extramarital affairs of many colleagues.

ITV executives have been summoned to parliament to answer questions about whether the broadcaster has a “toxic” work culture and is covering up star misconduct.

The BBC faces greater scrutiny than other broadcasters because it is funded by taxpayers and committed to impartiality in its reporting. In March, the newspaper was embroiled in a firestorm over free speech and political bias after its main sports presenter, former England footballer Gary Lineker, criticized the government’s immigration policy on social media.

Lineker was suspended but reinstated after fellow sportscasters, analysts and Premier League players voiced support for the boycott of BBC broadcasts. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a syndicated news feed, the latest staff may not have modified or edited the body of content)


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