BBC presenter scandal: when will broadcaster name suspended star amid sex scandal as others are misidentified?
As the BBC weathers another sex scandal involving a presenter accused of impropriety, we ask, why won’t the broadcaster name him?
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On Sunday, the BBC announced that they had suspended a male presenter and contacted the police over allegations that he had paid a vulnerable teenager to send him explicit photos over a period of three years.
Today, the corporation is due to meet with the Met police to discuss the matter, which is the latest in a series of sex scandals to plague the media company in the more than 10 years since the Jimmy Savile allegations came to light.
The alleged victim has also not been named, though their mother said that their child used the money to pay for a crack cocaine addiction which ‘destroyed’ their life.
Yet, even as the rumour mill has begun to turn at warp speed, the BBC has refused to name the presenter who has been accused.
As social media erupts into a firestorm of mud-slinging, it’s time that the BBC named the presenter to put an end to wild speculation of the chronically online armchair detectives.
Why won’t the BBC name its suspended presenter?
In not naming the presenter they have suspended, the BBC could be doing more damage than revealing their identity outright - as other presenters who are off sick, on annual leave, or not on air for any number of reasons today (10 July) and later in the week could be misidentified as the accused man.
This has already happened at least once - Nicky Campbell, who hosts the BBC Radio 5 Live programme, told listeners today that he had contacted the police after being misidentified as the suspended presenter.
Other presenters, including Gary Lineker and Jeremy Vine, felt compelled to issue statements distancing themselves from the allegations.
It seems that the BBC is giving cover to a man accused of questionable behaviour - allegedly paying £35,000 to a vulnerable teenager over the course of three years for explicit photos - at the expense of other well-known broadcasters.
The Sun, which broke the story, has also, at the time of writing, not named the presenter who has been accused.
It is possible that both The Sun and the BBC are seeking to avoid a defamation suit in case the accused man has not done what has been alleged, but in the process they are putting the safety and welfare of others at the BBC at risk.
There is a clear public interest in naming the accused presenter. If the teenager was under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged communication, and if the presenter paid for images of them performing sexual acts, then the accused man could be charged with possession of child abuse images.
In any case, social media, particularly Twitter, is saturated with comments and memes speculating as to the identity of the accused man, and until the BBC names him, these thousands of unsubstantiated posts run a real risk of causing serious distress to BBC staff who have not been accused of anything.