Huw Edwards accused of sending ‘flirtatious’ messages to BBC employees | UK News

Jul 13, 2023 | Uncategorized


Huw Edwards has been accused of sending inappropriate messages to BBC employees.

The newsreader was named yesterday as the presenter who had been suspended for allegedly paying £35,000 to a teenager in exchange for sexually explicit images.

According to Newsnight, one current BBC staff member claims they were contacted on social media by Edwards, and the messages left them uncomfortable and feeling awkward.

Huw Edwards latest: BBC presenter ‘suffering serious mental health issues’

Huw Edwards Pic: BBC News
Image:
Pic: BBC News

The messages were reportedly suggestive in nature, appeared to be flirtatious, and referred to his colleague’s appearance.

“There is a power dynamic that makes this inappropriate,” the staff member said.

Another BBC employee alleged that Edwards had also sent them a private message on social media that commented on their appearance and gave them a “cold shudder”.

Meanwhile, someone who used to work at the corporation – who had never met the newsreader – claimed they had received late-night messages from Edwards that were signed off with kisses.

The former employee told BBC Newsnight that they felt this amounted to an abuse of power.

Two of the three complainants said they felt they could not report their allegations of inappropriate behaviour to BBC managers.

A BBC spokesperson told Sky News: “We are communicating with staff and will continue to do so. We always treat the concerns of staff with care, and would always urge any staff members to speak to us if they have any concerns.

“We have clear processes for making complaints within the organisation, including whistleblowing procedures should someone wish to do so anonymously.”

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Huw Edwards: Career at the BBC

Huw Edwards in hospital

Allegations about the presenter had first been made by The Sun last Friday, but their identity was not officially confirmed for five days.

They were suspended by the BBC on Sunday – and in recent days, further allegations have been made by a number of other young complainants.

Several other high-profile BBC hosts – including Gary Lineker, Jeremy Vine, Rylan Clark and Nicky Campbell – had denied being involved in the scandal as speculation grew on social media.

Yesterday, Huw Edwards was publicly named in a statement issued by his wife Vicky Flind.

She said her husband was suffering from serious mental health issues and is now receiving inpatient hospital care “where he’ll stay for the foreseeable future”.

Ms Flind said the presenter intends to respond to the allegations once he is well enough to do so, adding: “I know that Huw is deeply sorry that so many colleagues have been impacted by the recent media speculation.”

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Her statement came shortly after the Metropolitan Police revealed there was “no information to indicate that a criminal offence has been committed”.

Scotland Yard said it will be taking no further action, and an internal BBC investigation can now resume.

In a note sent to BBC staff, director-general Tim Davie said it was a “difficult time for many” – and the corporation’s immediate concern “is our duty of care to all involved”.

Turning to Vicky Flind’s statement, he added: “It is a reminder that the last few days have seen personal lives played out in public. At the heart of this are people and their families.”

But Mr Davie stressed that it is important for the BBC to continue its investigation into the allegations that have been made.

“This remains a very complex set of circumstances,” he wrote. “As we have done throughout, our aim must be to navigate through this with care and consideration, in line with the BBC values.”

Read more:
Who is Huw Edwards? Newsreader named at centre of scandal
‘An awful and shocking episode’: Huw Edwards’ friends and colleagues react

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The Sun ‘wasn’t wrong to publish the story’

Newspaper under scrutiny

The Sun, which originally printed the claims about Edwards last Friday, has said it has “no plans to publish further allegations”.

In a statement, the media outlet said it will now provide BBC investigators with a confidential and redacted dossier containing “serious and wide-ranging” claims, including from BBC personnel.

However, the newspaper is coming under scrutiny for deciding to publish the claims in the first place.

David Yelland, who was editor of The Sun from 1998 to 2003, tweeted: “I wish [Huw Edwards] well. The Sun inflicted terror on Huw despite no evidence of any criminal offence.

“This is no longer a BBC crisis, it is a crisis for the paper. Huw’s privacy must now be respected. Social media also needs speedy reform.”

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‘This is not a BBC crisis’

Jon Sopel, former North America editor of BBC News, called the scandal “an awful and shocking episode” and said the presenter’s “complicated private life” does not “feel very private now”.

And Alastair Campbell, a former Downing Street head of communications, said the presenter “is the perfect target for those who would undermine and indeed would like to destroy the BBC”.

But Adam Boulton, a former Sky News political editor, said The Sun’s reporting “looks like it is in the legitimate public interest”.

He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge: “Those on television who hold others to account for their behaviour have to be prepared to be held to account.

“A lot of careers ended a long way short of criminality because it was felt that they were bringing the organisation which they represented into disrepute.”

Boulton said most people would see it as “fairly reprehensible” for a man in his 60s to pay large amounts of money to a young person for illicit material, and to phone the youth threatening them afterwards – claims which have been levelled against Edwards.

Ridge pointed out the young person had denied this happened, but Boulton said they are “clearly a very vulnerable person” with a “serious drug problem”.

Boulton argued that this made the young person’s statement less reliable than what their parents had alleged in The Sun.

“I think this is behaviour which, if I’d done it or you’d done it, we’d be held to account by our employers,” he told Ridge.



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