UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed his deep concern over the allegations involving a well-known BBC presenter who allegedly paid a teenager for sexually explicit images. During a press briefing in Lithuania on Tuesday, Sunak stated that his government had been assured by the broadcaster that a thorough investigation would be conducted promptly.
Describing the allegations as shocking and concerning, Sunak addressed the media ahead of his attendance at the opening day of the NATO summit in Vilnius. He admitted that he was unaware of the identity of the male presenter, as UK outlets had chosen not to disclose it due to privacy concerns.
Sunak revealed that his culture secretary, Lucy Frazer, had already discussed the matter with the BBC’s director general on Sunday. According to Sunak, Frazer had been reassured by the broadcaster that they were conducting a rigorous and swift investigation. However, it was announced on Tuesday that the BBC had temporarily suspended its own investigation to allow the Metropolitan Police to conduct their own probe.
The BBC initially suspended the presenter on Sunday after UK tabloid The Sun published claims that he had spent approximately £35,000 ($45,000) on sexually explicit images from a young person. The tabloid also stated that the young individual had subsequently used the money to purchase illegal drugs. The identity of the alleged victim, now 20 years old, remains anonymous.
In a surprising turn of events, a statement released on Monday by a lawyer representing the young person contradicted the version of events published by The Sun. The statement categorically denied any inappropriate or unlawful activities between the alleged victim and the BBC personality.
On Tuesday evening, BBC News reported fresh allegations involving the same presenter. Another young person, unrelated to the ongoing investigation into the sexual images, claimed that they had been contacted by the presenter on a dating app. According to the individual, they felt threatened by the messages received from the presenter after refusing to meet in person. BBC News independently verified the claims.
These allegations represent the latest in a series of sexual impropriety cases involving employees of the UK’s national broadcaster. Currently, former radio presenter Tim Westwood is under investigation for an alleged sexual assault. Furthermore, the BBC faced a significant scandal after multiple incidents of sexual assault were uncovered following the death of former broadcaster Jimmy Savile in 2011.
The seriousness of the allegations against the BBC presenter have raised concerns among the public and government officials. The government expects a thorough and swift investigation from both the BBC and the Metropolitan Police to ensure justice is served in this matter.