Recording of BBC journalists' off-air and 'ill-advised' conversation about equal pay is leaked
“This was an ill-advised off-air conversation which the presenter regrets."
The audio of a conversation about equal pay between two of the BBC's highest-paid journalists - John Humphrys and Jon Sopel - has been leaked.
Earlier this week, Carrie Gracie resigned as BBC China editor and in doing so, she released a letter which said the BBC has a "secretive and illegal" pay culture.
"The BBC belongs to you, the licence fee payer. I believe you have a right to know that it is breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure," she said.
Last year some of the most high-profile female BBC journalists and presenters called on the corporation to act after its annual report exposed a gender pay gap. For example, Chris Evans is the highest paid male star, earning £2.2m - £2.25m (€2.45m - €2.53m). Claudia Winkleman is the highest paid woman, earning £450k - £500k (€507k - €563k).
Buzzfeed have obtained audio of John Humphrys, one of the main hosts of Radio 4's news programme Today, and Jon Sopel, the BBC's North America editor, discussing Gracie's resignation.
Here it is:
Since the audio was released, Humphrys has said that this conversation was purely a "jokey exchange."
In an interview with ITV, he said: "We are in the habit, Jon and I, of winding each other up, and the purpose of this jokey, I emphasise jokey, exchange was a bit of mutual mickey-taking, and that is all it was. It had absolutely nothing to do with my views on women's pay - which I repeat and have said consistently - should be 'equal pay for equal work.'
He adds: "I had no idea, neither did Jon, neither did anybody else including the producer, that it was being recorded somewhere in the bowels of the BBC and somebody chose to leak it, and that was mildly annoying."
After this conversation between Humphrys and Sopel exchange was first leaked, a BBC spokesperson said: “This was an ill-advised off-air conversation which the presenter regrets."
Clip via - ODN