A well-known but unidentified BBC presenter was suspended over allegations he paid a cocaine-addicted teenager thousands of dollars for explicit photos over the course of three years.
The Sun reported last week that the unidentified presenter had allegedly paid £35,000, roughly $44,000, for explicit images starting when the teenager was 17. The mother of the victim, who is now 20, said the payments helped fuel her child’s “spiralling” cocaine addiction, according to the Sun.
The mom, who has also not been identified, told the Sun she was shocked when she noticed a photo of the presenter in his underwear on her child’s phone.
“I loved watching him on TV,” the mom said. “So I was shocked to see a picture of him sitting on a sofa in his house in his underwear.
“I immediately recognised him.”
The mom told the outlet that she asked her child about the photo and was told the photo was from a video call, with the child explaining, “I have shown things.”
“He was leaning forward getting ready for my child to perform for him,” the mom said of how the presenter was posed in the photo.
She added that she reportedly heard the presenter speaking to her child on the phone earlier this year warning to not call him.
“I heard him on the phone saying to my child, ‘I told you not to f—ing ring me,'” the mom recounted.
“It was shocking as I’d see how he would act on the telly, and then he would say stuff like that.”
A spokesperson for the BBC said the media organization was made aware of the allegations in May and has been in contact with authorities and the family.
“This is a complex and fast moving set of circumstances and the BBC is working as quickly as possible to establish the facts in order to properly inform appropriate next steps,” the spokesperson said in a statement obtained by Fox News Digital.
“We can also confirm a male member of staff has been suspended.”
BBC staffers are now taking issue with how the organization handled the allegations, specifically on why it took two months for the allegations to come to light. Other presenters have publicly come forward to clarify they are not the accused.
“Whatever the truth of it is, none of us trust managers to investigate properly. Colleagues are saying managers have been too slow in dealing with this despite it perhaps being a criminal matter,” one BBC presenter told the Times of the matter.
Lucy Frazer, the U.K.’s secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, also weighed in on the allegations on Twitter, saying the BBC must be given space to carry out an investigation.
“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,” she wrote over the weekend.
The presenter could face criminal charges if found guilty. The alleged victim was reportedly 17 when the payments began, which is over the U.K.’s age of consent, but making, distributing, possessing or showing explicit photos of children under 18 is a criminal offense in the country, according to the Daily Mail.
Management at the BBC are preparing to meet with police officials Monday, according to the Daily Mail.
“We have been clear that if – at any point – new information comes to light or is provided to us, this will be acted upon appropriately and actively followed up,” the BBC spokesperson added in their comment.
“We expect to be in a position to provide a further update in the coming days as the process continues. The BBC Board will continue to be kept up to date.”
POST AUTHOR: Emma Colton