Off-air chat ‘noth­ing to do’ with BBC cam­paign

Irish Examiner - - World News -

Ra­dio broad­caster John Humphrys has said com­ments made in an off-air chat about equal pay were “noth­ing to do” with the cam­paign by Car­rie Gra­cie af­ter he was crit­i­cised for mak­ing light of the sit­u­a­tion.

A leaked tape record­ing of a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween Mr Humphrys and North Amer­ica edi­tor Jon Sopel, be­fore Mon­day’s BBC Ra­dio 4 To­day pro­gramme, re­port­edly heard them dis­cussing Ms Gra­cie, who had quit just hours ear­lier in protest at un­equal pay.

Ac­cord­ing to The Sun and The Times, Mr Humphrys asked his col­league how much of his salary he would be pre­pared to “hand over” to keep Ms Gra­cie as the BBC’s China edi­tor, be­fore adding: “Oh dear God, she’s ac­tu­ally sug­gested you should lose money.”

The pre­sen­ter told the Times the con­ver­sa­tion had not been in­tended as a crit­i­cism of Ms Gra­cie.

He said: “This was what I thought was an ex­change be­tween two old friends who have known each other for 30 years and were tak­ing the mickey out of each other.

“It was noth­ing to do with Car­rie’s cam­paign.”

Ms Gra­cie’s res­ig­na­tion came as she ac­cused the cor­po­ra­tion of a “se­cre­tive and il­le­gal pay cul­ture”.

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