Although Rishi Sunak claims he is unaware of the identity of the BBC presenter who is accused of paying a teenager for explicit images, he has been told that the allegations will be “swiftly and rigorously” probed.
The Prime Minister made his remarks before the head of the corporation was presented with the charges regarding the unnamed star.
A male employee of the BBC has been suspended after The Sun newspaper revealed that he paid a youngster, from the age of 17, about £35,000 over the course of three years for explicit images.
Mr Sunak told reporters on the plane to the Nato summit in Lithuania: “They were shocking, concerning allegations, of course they were.
“The Culture Secretary (Lucy Frazer) spoke to the director-general, I think it was on Sunday.
“And he has reassured (us) that the process they are undertaking is vigorous and will be swift, so we’ve had those reassurances.”
Asked if he has been told who the BBC presenter in question is, Mr Sunak replied: “No.
“But I’ve been reassured that the process will be conducted vigorously and swiftly.”
He added that it “is important we now let that carry on”.
Tuesday’s media conference with BBC Director-General Tim Davie is planned to take place after the publication of the organization’s annual report, but the controversy is expected to take up most of the discussion.
The report, which was prepared before the claims became public, provides an evaluation of how the BBC has performed over the past 12 months.
It normally discloses the compensation of the company’s highest earners, and Mr. Davie is expected to field inquiries regarding the salaries of celebrities.
Although their mother apparently supports the charges, the young person at the focus of the incident has claimed nothing improper or illegal occurred with the unnamed presenter.
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 young person reportedly notified The Sun on Friday evening that there was “no truth to it” before the newspaper published the article, according to the legal representation, the BBC said.
The letter asserts that the mother and the young person are estranged, and the lawyer reportedly referred to the front-page piece as “inappropriate.”
The letter was written by a large law company, according to BBC News, which added that it does not know the identify of the young person and has not spoken to them personally.
After BBC representatives visited with detectives on Monday morning, police announced that they are conducting additional investigations to see whether any crimes have been committed.
A spokesman 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.”
According to The Sun, the young person’s mother and stepfather stood by their allegation and questioned how their youngster could pay the attorney.
The newspaper alleged 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”.
She said she was told it was “a picture from some kind of video call” and looked as though he was “getting ready for my child to perform for him”.
The family allegedly complained to the BBC on May 19 but grew impatient because the celebrity continued to air.
Following the claims, the presenter is accused of making “panicked” calls to the young person, asking them, “What have you done?” and pleading with them to urge their mother to stop the probe.
According to the BBC, new allegations of a “different nature” were brought to it on Thursday. The BBC claimed it has been looking into a complaint since May.
The BBC is in contact with the police, doing its own investigations, and speaking with the young person’s family.