Veteran BBC Presenter Humphrys in Hot Water Over Gender Pay Gap Joke

PA  Reuters                   John Humphrys and Jon Sopel

North America Editor Sopel replies: "I mean, obviously if we are talking about the scope for the greatest redistribution, I'll have to come back and say, 'Well, yes, Mr Humphrys, but...'"

Humphrys said: "And I could save you the trouble as I could volunteer that I've handed over already more than you f***ing earn".

Now, this in and of itself could be dismissed as a harmless attempt to bring some humour to an otherwise serious story or, more generously, an attempt to diffuse the inevitable awkwardness of one BBC presenter talking to another, who has just resigned over her pay at, well, the BBC whilst on air on a BBC programme.

The presenter is then reported to have uttered a profanity and said that he was "still left with more [pay] than anybody else".

Speaking to The Sun about the incident, Humphrys said the conversation was "silly banter between old mates".

Former Countryfile presenter Miriam O'Reilly, who won an age discrimination case against the BBC after being dropped from her show in 2011, said on Twitter, "You should hear the tone of the exchange - base, smug and condescending".

He said: 'Oh dear God she's actually suggested you should lose money. "The BBC is committed to getting its pay structures right". "And a useful reminder to be ever careful in a room with microphones". When Carrie Gracie said she hoped she would be remembered for her work reporting on China and not as "the woman who complained about money", he snarked "too late, too late" as he laughed.

The Radio 4 Today show host reportedly joked about the resignation of Carrie Gracie, who left her post as BBC News' China Editor earlier this week after learning that she earned significantly less than male worldwide editors within the corporation.

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The broadcaster told The Telegraph that he will not be prevented from presenting segments on equal pay as his mainly female colleagues who have campaigned for equal pay were, as he has not campaigned against it himself.

O'Reilly tweeted: "I believe the person who made the decision to stand me down this morning was concerned I would mention the leaked tape on air".

Jon Sopel: Humphrys I can hear you.

"This item became a much broader discussion about social change and consequently Afua Hirsch was a more suitable guest to talk about the wider issues".

Gracie's resignation was the latest aftershock since the BBC was forced to disclose the salaries of its top earning employees previous year, revealing that two-thirds of them were men.

In an open letter, she said she had left her post to "speak out publicly on a crisis of trust at the BBC", adding she simply wanted the corporation to "abide by the law and value men and women equally".

MP calls for action after men caught joking about gender pay row The has come under fire over its gender pay gap again after male presenters were caught laughing about the shameful conduct of the corporation.

BBC director-general Tony Hall has also agreed to appear before the committee.


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