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Calls to suspend BBC star over explicit photo allegations

BBC bosses have entered crisis talks over allegations against a well-known male presenter accused of paying a vulnerable teenager £35,000 for sexual images.

The mystery star, who has not been named, has been taken off air amid claims they began paying the teenager when they were 17, with the money going to fund a drug addiction.

The Sun claimed the presenter has not yet been suspended.

The newspaper reported that the young person’s mother saw a picture of the presenter on her child’s phone in which he was “sitting on a sofa in his house in his underwear”.

She said she was told it was “a picture from some kind of video call”.

It comes as BBC presenters including Gary Lineker, Rylan Clark and Jeremy Vine have come out to deny it is them after false accusations on social media.

Government minister Victoria Atkins called on the BBC to act “very swiftly” to investigate the unnamed presenter.

“These are very, very serious allegations and the BBC have said they have processes in place,” the financial secretary to the Treasury told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme.

“But as public attention and concern grows the BBC is going to have to act very swiftly to deal with these allegations and to set out what they are doing to investigate them,” she added.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves told the programme that the presenter should not stay in his job during the investigation.

She said: “The idea that some presenters think that they act with impunity and they can get away with these sorts of things, it does call into question the ethics, the investigations, how long these things take.

“The BBC, but also other broadcasters, do need to get a grip because we seem to lurch from one scandal to another and more needs to be done.”

She added: “When serious allegations are made like this I don’t think it is right that people stay in those jobs while those very serious investigations go on.”

Gary Lineker, who fronts BBC’s Match of the Day, and BBC Radio 2 hosts Rylan Clark and Jeremy Vine have denied being involved in the allegations.

Gary Lineker tweeted: “Hate to disappoint the haters but it’s not me.”

Rylan Clark tweeted: “Not sure why my name’s floating about but re that story in the Sun – that ain’t me babe. I’m currently filming a show in Italy for the BBC, so take my name out ya mouths.”

And Jeremy Vine tweeted: “Just to say I’m very much looking forward to hosting my radio show on Monday — whoever the ‘BBC Presenter’ in the news is, I have the same message for you as Rylan did earlier: it certainly ain’t me.”

BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Nicky Campbell also spoke out against speculation it could be him, threatening to sue Twitter users who appeared to falsely accuse him.

The Sun newspaper first reported on Saturday that a young person’s family complained about the behaviour of a BBC household name on 19 May – but he stayed on TV.

The mother said her child, now aged 20, has become addicted to crack cocaine and accused the BBC star of funding their habit.

“I blame this BBC man for destroying my child’s life, taking my child’s innocence and handing over the money for crack cocaine that could kill my child,” she said.

“Whenever I see him on telly, I feel sick.”

Neither the BBC star nor the alleged victim has been identified.

A BBC spokesperson said: “We treat any allegations very seriously and we have processes in place to proactively deal with them.

“As part of that, if we receive information that requires further investigation or examination we will take steps to do this. That includes actively attempting to speak to those who have contacted us in order to seek further detail and understanding of the situation.

“If we get no reply to our attempts or receive no further contact that can limit our ability to progress things but it does not mean our enquiries stop.

“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.”

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