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BBC presenter scandal highlights questions about standards and values

At the heart of the accumulating allegations against the suspended BBC presenter lie two themes.

It is the claim of sexual impropriety – that thousands of pounds were handed over to a young person in return for explicit images and, implicitly, gratification – which has grabbed the headlines.

But there is a second element to the claimed behaviour which, if substantiated, could prove just as troubling – namely the balance of power that exists between a household name and the individuals who enter their orbit.

The male presenter is alleged to have called the young person after the claims about the payments were published last week, asking: “What have you done?”

Last night, fresh claims were levelled by a second young person, in their 20s, alleging that a phone number belonging to the presenter had been used to send “threatening messages” after the pair had connected via a dating app.

In the maelstrom of claim and counterclaim that now inhabits this scandal, it must be emphasised that none of the above can be treated as proven, nor even that it could amount to an infringement of the law.

But to be a star in the BBC’s firmament is also to uphold certain values and certain standards of decency and good conduct. Any use of the fame or power that such a position endows to seek to intimidate or unduly influence is plainly contrary to those values and, self-evidently, a sackable offence.

It is the sort of situation that merits a quick resolution. But, alas, it seems any clarity in this equation reaching from questionable sexual conduct to potential criminality could yet take a while.

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