YESTERDAY, the BBC re-started its investigation into Huw Edwards, which had been paused while the police determined if there was any evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
Here, we detail the disturbing allegations the investigation must consider — and the questions and concerns about the BBC’s failings which it cannot ignore.
The BBC yesterday re-started its investigation into Huw Edwards[/caption]
Director General Tim Davie accepts there are lessons to be learned[/caption]
1. The payments to the youngster who was sending explicit pictures
The Sun story which triggered the scandal detailed a relationship between a man in a position of huge trust and a then-teenager, who was allegedly using money from the star to bankroll a serious drug habit.
His mum even feared the child could wind up dead.
The BBC has so far made much of the fact police said no criminality was involved.
What will it now do about what appears to be a glaring and reckless abuse of power and influence?
2. The “frightening” messages
The second allegation against Mr Edwards came from the BBC itself, with an individual in their early 20s saying they felt threatened by “expletive-filled messages” the “bullying” broadcaster sent.
The person said they were “put under pressure to meet up, but never did”.
They said the threats made in the messages had frightened them — and they remain scared.
Under the BBC’s code of conduct, is this behaviour judged acceptable?
3. Breaking lockdown to meet a young person from a dating app
As the BBC’s news anchor, Mr Edwards regularly announced the Covid rules to the nation.
On Wednesday, he was shown by The Sun to have travelled to a 23-year-old’s home in February 2021 — while restrictions prevented people from meeting anyone outside their household or bubble.
He also made three separate payments to the youngster, who sent him a semi-naked picture.
Is Covid law-breaking by its staff acceptable to the BBC?
4. Unsolicited heart emojis sent to a schoolchild
A fourth young person claimed in The Sun the presenter had sent them “creepy” messages with kisses and love-heart emojis when they were just 17.
The youngster had only followed the newsreader on his Instagram account because they were interested in current affairs.
The youth, now 22, told The Sun: “Looking back now, it does seem creepy because he was messaging me when I was still at school.”
Does the BBC not consider this a serious abuse of position, in breach of its rules?
5. The “suggestive” messages
On Wednesday evening, the BBC revealed “suggestive” messages had been sent to BBC employees.
One staff member said they believed the messages — “which gave them a cold shudder” — were inappropriate, especially as the presenter was a much more senior colleague.
BBC News said the messages “refer to the BBC staff member’s appearance and they are flirtatious”.
In other organisations, senior staff making or sending inappropriate comments about appearance has resulted in swift disciplinary action.
What signal does the BBC want to send to its own staff about conduct in the workplace?
6. The late-night “kisses”
In the same report, one former colleague of Mr Edwards, 61, told the broadcaster that he was sending them social media messages that included kisses which they believed was an “abuse of power”.
Given the power imbalance, does the BBC consider this acceptable workplace behaviour, which other staff would not be allowed to get away with?
7. The newsroom rumours
Yesterday, the website Deadline revealed the BBC was working on tip-offs about Mr Edwards and his behaviour BEFORE The Sun’s initial story.
If journalists had heard rumours about the presenter, and they were working on these “leads” for potential news reports, had anybody else in the Corporation heard similar things?
Were any complaints made to managers that were not acted upon?
8. The complaints system still unfit for purpose
The parents of the youngster in The Sun’s initial revelations first complained to the BBC on May 18.
On May 19, they told BBC staff they had seen bank statements showing payments by Mr Edwards and had copies of messages between their child and the presenter.
Yet director-general Tim Davie was not told anything until July 6 — when The Sun rang the BBC press office.
Mr Davie accepts there are lessons to be learned.
But many will ask: The BBC has given similar assurances after being caught out in previous scandals — so what lessons are they?
9. The staff too afraid to speak out
In the new cases that emerged via BBC News on Wednesday night, two of the three complainants claimed they did not feel able to report their allegations of inappropriate behaviour to BBC managers, for fear of harming their careers.
This is shocking given that — after Jimmy Savile and other scandals — the BBC is supposed to have a culture where staff feel free to raise any concerns they might have, without fear or favour.
How does Mr Davie intend to fix this?
10. The unpublished allegations
The Sun has paused publishing further allegations against the presenter, and BBC News is expected to do the same.
However, we have committed to passing on a number of other complaints to the BBC’s investigators, including sworn statements, messages and other materials.
Will the BBC guarantee no whistleblowers or complainants will be ignored — and commit to transparently prove that NOTHING was swept under the carpet?