The BBC’s scandal over the behavior of a senior staff member escalated on Tuesday with a report that a second person came forward to say that the unnamed staff member had sent angry and abusive messages to the man through a dating app.
The BBC reported that the teenager, who she did not identify, was threatened with “abusive, abusive messages,” which followed the employee’s failure to meet the man and his views on naming her in public.
One employee faced charges of paying thousands of dollars to a minor in exchange for pornographic images. The BBC said it had suspended its investigation into the allegations at the request of the Metropolitan Police, who are also investigating the matter.
As the cases continue to mount, but with many unanswered questions, the BBC appears to be under siege. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, on a trip to a NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, said the employee’s salary reports were “shocking and concerning” and called for a swift and robust investigation.
The BBC’s chief executive, Tim Davie, has also come under increasing pressure to explain why the commission waited seven weeks after the original complaint was lodged in May about the broadcaster’s conduct before meeting him or taking action. On Sunday, the BBC said it had suspended the operation and called the police.
Mr Davie said initial allegations that the girl’s mother had paid for pornographic images had been taken seriously by the BBC. there was a question as to whether there was any criminal activity.
But the complaints were not made to him or other senior BBC managers until late last week, he said, when they were about to be reported by London newspaper The Sun. He said he never spoke to the employee.
The new news was reported by BBC reporters on Tuesday afternoon. They said they checked the messages on the man’s phone and confirmed that they came from the employee’s phone. The BBC said it could not reach the employee or his lawyer for comment.
Mr Davie admitted the allegations had tarnished the reputation of the British broadcaster, which has repeatedly found itself in the crosshairs over the actions and comments of its on-air staff.
“This is really damaging the BBC,” Mr Davie said in an interview with BBC Radio 4. “It’s not good.”
The BBC said the suspended employee was a “presenter,” which in British television usually refers to a news anchor, broadcaster or other media personality. Although the BBC has not revealed the identity of the man, this has not stopped the rumors spreading online, which has forced some BBC staff to go on television to deny that they are the accusers.
Among the questions surrounding the BBC is the credibility of a report by The Sun that the employee paid the teenager more than £35,000, or about $45,000, for pornographic material over a period of years that began when the man was 17.
Under British law, the age of consent is 16, but it is an offense to take, make, share or possess indecent images of anyone under 18.
On Monday, the BBC reported that the teenager’s lawyer said in a letter to the station which is reported in The Sun it was “garbage,” indicating that there was a difference between the youth and the youth’s parents.
The teenager’s lawyer said that “nothing inappropriate or illegal has happened between our client and the BBC,” according to the broadcaster. His press release did not name the attorney, and Davie said Tuesday he did not know whether the employee was paying the teenager’s legal fees.
The Sun newspaper, owned by Rupert Murdoch, stood by its story, criticizing the BBC saying it was the teenager’s parents’ fault for not understanding the length of time to resolve complaints.
“Their complaints have not been dealt with by the BBC,” a spokesman for The Sun said on Monday. “We have seen evidence to confirm their concerns. Now for the BBC to investigate properly. “