TV and radio star Jeremy Vine has said the unnamed presenter at the heart of the BBC furore “needs to come forward” adding that “the longer he leaves it the worse it will be for him”.
Vine and Piers Morgan are among the high-profile figures who have called for the unnamed BBC presenter to go public, with a number of other BBC stars including Gary Lineker, Nicky Campbell, Rylan Clark and Vine all being forced to publicly deny they are the person in question.
Speaking on his Channel 5 show, Vine – who also hosts an afternoon show on BBC Radio 2 – said: “It’s his decision but he needs to come forward now, I think.
“I know his survival instinct has kicked in and I know he saw what happened to Phillip Schofield, but my God look at the damage to the BBC, look at the damage to his friends, to those falsely accused – and the longer he leaves it the worse it will be for him.”
Vine said he thought “very carefully” before posting a tweet on Tuesday night urging the unnamed presenter to reveal himself, adding: “I know the individual concerned. I am very worried about his state of mind and what this is doing to him.
“I haven’t spoken to him but I gather from somebody who has that he is described as angry and keen to play it long.
“Now to me that means that he wants to be anonymous for as long as possible, hoping that he can one day walk back into the building.”
Vine said the unnamed BBC presenter “will have to answer” the allegations against him, suggesting the man will not be able to “remain anonymous for ever” while continuing to work for the broadcaster.
He added: “What’s happening is all this stuff is aggregating with no response.
“Now, he must have a defence, he must have one. Maybe he’s going to say it’s all a misunderstanding? Well I assume it.”
The 58-year-old, who said he has not spoken with the presenter, also said: “I had a situation: I was going to see Bruce Springsteen at the weekend and my wife said, ‘are you going to be safe there?’
“That’s how serious this thing is, and she gave me a baseball cap and said, ‘you better wear this’.”
He also defended the BBC, saying the corporation has “behaved with extraordinary decency” and he understands that if it sacks the presenter, it may not be able to “name” him.
On whether the person thinks they are above being held to account for their alleged actions, Vine said: “It may be more complicated than that, they may be in some sort of terrible crisis, unable to judge what’s right and what’s wrong any more, I don’t know.”
On The Sun’s front page on Wednesday, the newspaper reported a 23-year-old person has claimed the BBC presenter broke lockdown rules to meet them during the pandemic in February 2021.
The paper also reported an additional claim from another person saying the presenter “started a chat with a teen follower from his Instagram account — using love hearts and kisses in his messages”.
According to The Sun, the individual was 17 when the presenter contacted them “out of the blue”.
Separately, BBC News reported on Tuesday that a person in their early 20s has alleged that they were sent threatening messages by the unnamed man.
BBC News said it had contacted the presenter via his lawyer, but had received no response to the allegations.
On July 9, the BBC issued an update to staff and the media and confirmed it had suspended the unnamed presenter following the first allegation printed in The Sun which said the presenter had paid a teenager tens of thousands of pounds for sexually explicit images.
But the young person at the centre of the controversy later said via lawyers, in a letter to the BBC, that nothing inappropriate or unlawful happened with the unnamed presenter.
BBC News said it does not know the identity of the young person and has not spoken to them directly, but that the letter was sent by a multinational law firm.
Their mother told The Sun they stand by the claims and a spokesperson for The Sun said it is “now for the BBC to properly investigate”.
A police force has confirmed to the PA news agency that “no criminality was identified” following a report in April by the family.
The force has since met with representatives of the Metropolitan Police and the BBC and a spokesperson said “further inquiries are ongoing to establish whether there is evidence of a criminal offence”.
On Tuesday the corporation’s director-general Tim Davie said he has ordered a review to “assess how some complaints are red flagged up the organisation” as the BBC’s annual report was unveiled.
He said the BBC is dealing with a “complex and difficult situation” after the “serious allegations”.
The corporation has been asked to pause its internal investigation into the allegations “while the police scope future work” following a meeting with the Metropolitan Police.
A spokesperson for the force said it continues to make an “assessment to establish whether there is evidence of a criminal offence being committed” and “there remains no police investigation at this time”.
The corporation also released a timeline which revealed that the BBC had made two attempts to contact the family before The Sun’s front page story on Saturday.
No additional attempts to contact the complainant were made after June 6, the corporation said, until recently when materials were handed over to the BBC’s Corporate Investigations Team (CIT).
A statement from the BBC on Tuesday said: “The events of recent days have shown how complex and challenging these kinds of cases can be and how vital it is that they are handled with the utmost diligence and care.
“There will, of course, be lessons to be learned following this exercise.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub