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