World News | The BBC is Under Pressure over Claims a Well-known Presenter Paid a Teenager for Explicit Photos

Get latest articles and stories on World at LatestLY. Senior British politicians on Sunday called on the BBC to rapidly investigate claims that a leading presenter paid a teenager for explicit photos.

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London, Jul 9 (AP) Senior British politicians on Sunday called on the BBC to rapidly investigate claims that a leading presenter paid a teenager for explicit photos.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer held crisis talks with the broadcaster's director-general, and said the “deeply concerning” allegations must be looked into “swiftly and sensitively”.

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The publicly funded national broadcaster is under pressure after The Sun newspaper reported allegations that the male presenter gave a youth 35,000 pounds ($45,000) starting in 2020 when the young person was 17.

Neither the star nor the youth was identified. Amid speculation on social media about the identity of the presenter, several of the BBC's best-known stars spoke up to say it wasn't them.

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Though the age of sexual consent in Britain is 16, it's a crime to make or possess indecent images of anyone under 18.

The Sun said the young person's mother had complained to the BBC in May. It was unclear what if any action the broadcaster had taken.

In a statement, the BBC said “we treat any allegations very seriously and we have processes in place to proactively deal with them.”

“If, at any point, new information comes to light or is provided — including via newspapers — this will be acted upon appropriately, in line with internal processes,” the broadcaster said.

UK media reported that the presenter was not due to be on the air in the near future, but it was unclear whether he had been suspended.

Frazer said Director General Tim Davie had assured her the BBC was “investigating swiftly and sensitively.”

“Given the nature of the allegations, it is important that the BBC is now given the space to conduct its investigation, establish the facts and take appropriate action. I will be kept updated," she wrote on social media.

Rachel Reeves, economy spokeswoman for the opposition Labour Party, said the BBC needed to “speed up their processes” and “get their house in order.”

Commercial UK broadcaster ITV recently faced its own scandal after Phillip Schofield, a long-time host on the channel's popular morning show, quit in May, admitting he had lied about an affair with a much younger colleague.

ITV executives were summoned to Parliament to answer questions about whether the broadcaster had a “toxic” work culture and had covered up misconduct by stars.

The BBC faces greater scrutiny than other broadcasters because it is taxpayer-funded and committed to remaining impartial in its news coverage. It was engulfed in a storm over free speech and political bias in March when its leading sports presenter, former England soccer player Gary Lineker, criticised the government's immigration policy on social media.

Lineker was suspended — and then restored after other sports presenters, analysts and Premier League players boycotted the BBC airwaves in solidarity. (AP)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from Syndicated News feed, LatestLY Staff may not have modified or edited the content body)

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