In order to discuss allegations that an unnamed presenter paid a teenager tens of thousands of pounds for sexually explicit photos, the BBC will meet with the Metropolitan Police on Monday.
While The Sun alleged that the presenter at the centre of the claims made “panicked” calls to the young person last week, the corporation has spoken with the police and verified a male staff member has been suspended.
According to the publication, the host allegedly questioned, “What have you done?” and instructed them to call their mother to persuade her to “stop the investigation.”
According to BBC News, the company will meet with the Metropolitan Police later “to discuss the matter”.
The BBC has stated that new claims of a “different nature” were submitted to it on Thursday. The BBC has stated that it has been looking into a complaint since May, when it was first made aware of it.
The corporation is in contact with the police, doing its own investigations, and speaking with the young person’s family.
In a statement on Sunday evening, the Metropolitan Police said: “The Met has received initial contact from the BBC in relation to this matter, but no formal referral or allegation has been made.
“We will require additional information before determining what further action should follow.”
Tim Davie, the director-general of the BBC, is set to brief the media after the organization’s annual report is released on Tuesday, but the unfolding situation involving the anonymous broadcaster will take centre stage.
Mr Davie has said he is “wholly condemning the unsubstantiated rumours being made on the internet about some of our presenting talent” after a host of famous BBC faces were forced to publicly state they are not the individual in question amid heavy speculation about the identity on social media.
In a note sent to staff and seen by the PA news agency, Mr Davie said the corporation takes “all such allegations incredibly seriously”.
A BBC spokesman said: “The BBC first became aware of a complaint in May.
“New allegations were put to us on Thursday of a different nature and, in addition to our own inquiries, we have also been in touch with external authorities, in line with our protocols.
“We can also confirm a male member of staff has been suspended.
“We expect to be in a position to provide a further update in the coming days as the process continues. The BBC board will continue to be kept up to date.”
The statement added that the corporation has “robust internal processes in place to proactively deal with such allegations”.
“This is a complex and fast-moving set of circumstances and the BBC is working as quickly as possible to establish the facts in order to properly inform appropriate next steps”, the BBC added.
“It is important that these matters are handled fairly and with care.
“We have been clear that if – at any point – new information comes to light or is provided to us, this will be acted upon appropriately and actively followed up.”
The person, who was reportedly 17 when the payments started, allegedly received £35,000 from the BBC personality, according to claims published in The Sun tabloid.
The mother of the youngster told The Sun that she found a photo of the presenter “sitting on a sofa in his house in his underwear” on her son’s phone.
It appeared as though he was “getting ready for my child to perform for him,” the mother claimed she was told, and it was “a picture from some kind of video call.”
The family allegedly complained to the BBC on May 19 but grew impatient because the celebrity continued to air.
Mr Davie’s note to staff on Sunday 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.”
The organisation is “investigating swiftly and sensitively” into the claims, Mr. Davie promised Lucy Frazer, the Culture Secretary, earlier on Sunday.
One of the BBC celebrities who openly admitted they are not the presenter in issue is Gary Lineker, who tweeted: “Hate to disappoint the haters but it’s not me.” Another is Rylan Clark.
Clark wrote: “Not sure why my name’s floating about but re that story in the Sun – that ain’t me babe. I’m currently filming a show in Italy for the BBC, so take my name out ya mouths.”
Jeremy Vine also said: “Just to say I’m very much looking forward to hosting my radio show on Monday — whoever the ‘BBC Presenter’ in the news is, I have the same message for you as Rylan did earlier: it certainly ain’t me.”
Nicky Campbell claimed he had gotten in touch with the police after being unjustly implicated in the hoax online.
He tweeted a screenshot which featured the Metropolitan Police logo and the words: “Thank you for contacting the Metropolitan Police Service to report your crime.”
I think it’s important to take a stand. There’s just too many of these people on social media. Thanks for your support friends. pic.twitter.com/KNytEcAE7J
— Nicky Campbell (@NickyAACampbell) July 8, 2023
“I think it’s important to take a stand. There’s just too many of these people on social media. Thanks for your support friends,” he wrote.