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15 July, 2024
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BBC under fire for alleged payment of child for explicit photos

17-year-old kid to receive over $45,000 from presenter for pornographic images

Source: i24 News

The British government on Sunday ordered the BBC to investigate one of its presenters, accused in the press by a mother of having paid her child to send her pornographic photos.

The Sun tabloid published the mother's testimony on Friday evening, accusing an unnamed BBC star presenter of having given tens of thousands of pounds to her then 17-year-old child in exchange for pornographic photos, without specifying whether the child was a boy or a girl.

The child is said to have received more than $45,000 over three years for the images, money which the mother claims enabled them to finance their crack cocaine habit.

According to the daily, the family contacted the BBC on May 19 to report the situation, but the presenter remained on air for several more weeks.

These allegations, which are making headlines in the British media, "must be investigated with the utmost urgency and sensitivity," said the Department for Culture, which is responsible for the media, in a statement on Sunday. Minister Lucy Frazer subsequently spoke to BBC Director General Tim Davie.

"He assured me that the BBC was investigating quickly and sensitively," she wrote on Twitter. "Given the nature of the accusations, it is important to give the BBC time to conduct this investigation, establish the facts and take appropriate action," she added.

The BBC had said on Friday that it "treats all accusations very seriously", and has "a procedure in place to deal with them proactively". But it has not been confirmed that the presenter in question, who is currently off the air, has been formally suspended.

The public broadcasting group, whose chairman was forced to resign in April in a conflict-of-interest affair and whose impartiality is regularly called into question, is the target of virulent criticism over its handling of the affair. Former Home Secretary and Conservative MP Priti Patel described the BBC's response on Twitter as "derisory."

"The BBC, but other channels too, need to get a grip as we seem to be moving from scandal to scandal," opposition Labour MP Rachel Reeves also reacted on Sky News on Sunday. Last May, the star presenter of the private ITV channel, Philip Schofield, resigned after admitting an intimate relationship with a young colleague he had helped to get hired. The channel's management was called into question for its handling of the affair, even within Parliament.

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