A lawyer for the young person at the center of a controversy involving an unnamed BBC presenter has disputed the claims reported in The Sun newspaper, saying they were “rubbish.”
The British public broadcaster suspended “a male member of staff” at the weekend after The Sun reported Friday that a woman had accused an unnamed presenter of paying her teenage child for sexually explicit photographs.
The Sun had reported that the alleged recipient’s mother said they had used the money received in exchange for photos to fund an addiction to crack cocaine.
“I blame this BBC man for destroying my child’s life,” the recipient’s mother was quoted as saying.
The tabloid reported that the presenter had paid the person in question more than £35,000 ($45,000) since they were 17 years old in return for explicit images. It is a criminal offense in the UK to take or obtain sexually explicit photographs of anyone under the age of 18. The Sun has reported the person involved is now 20.
CNN is unable to confirm the details of the allegations made in The Sun.
In a letter to the BBC, the lawyer representing the young person said “nothing inappropriate or unlawful has taken place between our client and the BBC personality and the allegations reported in The Sun newspaper are ‘rubbish’.”
In response to the letter, as reported by the BBC, a spokesperson for The Sun said the tabloid “reported a story about two very concerned parents who made a complaint to the BBC about the behavior of a presenter and the welfare of their child. Their complaint was not acted upon by the BBC.
“We have seen evidence that supports their concerns. It’s now for the BBC to properly investigate,” the spokesperson added in a statement on Monday evening. CNN asked the BBC to comment on the statement from The Sun.
The lawyer also said their client sent a denial to The Sun on Friday evening via WhatsApp, saying the statement their mother gave to the tabloid was “totally wrong and there was no truth to it,” according to the BBC.
The tabloid published “their inappropriate article” despite the young person’s denial, the lawyer said according to the BBC.
A spokesperson for The Sun told CNN it had nothing to add to the previous statement when asked if they had a response to the young person’s denial via WhatsApp, as reported by the BBC.
Earlier on Monday, London’s Metropolitan Police said it was assessing whether there was evidence that the accused BBC presenter has committed a criminal offense. The Met said in a statement that detectives from its Specialist Crime Command met virtually with representatives from the BBC on Monday morning.
“They are assessing the information discussed at the meeting and further enquiries are taking place to establish whether there is evidence of a criminal offence being committed,” the statement said.
The British government department that oversees media regulation, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, said it wanted to be “kept informed” of the progress of the investigation in light of the BBC’s status as a public service broadcaster.
The BBC faces more scrutiny that other broadcasters as it is funded by a license fee that’s compulsory for any UK household with a television. “These allegations are deeply concerning,” the DCMS said in a statement provided to CNN on Sunday.
Fevered speculation about the presenter’s identity has led to several BBC presenters releasing public statements on Twitter denying that they were the subject of the story.
The Metropolitan Police said Monday it was investigating a social media post related to the sexual misconduct claim. “On Saturday, 8 July police received a report of malicious communication in relation to a post on social media. An investigation is under way and enquiries are ongoing. There have been no arrests,” the Met said in a statement.