World Media

BBC women 'close to walking out' over Humphrys' pay gap remarks

BBC women 'close to walking out' over Humphrys' pay gap remarks

And because so many companies are refusing to own up to discrimination - even, like retailer Phase Eight, claiming the pay gap is the result of women choosing to do lower-paid jobs - the Women's Equality Party is calling for the redesign of gender pay gap legislation in 2018 so that organisations like the BBC can no longer hide discriminatory practices.

A leaked recording of BBC Radio 4 Today host John Humphrys joking about the gender pay gap with a fellow male BBC editor has reportedly left management "unimpressed".

Female staff at the BBC backing the equal pay campaign questioned why Humphrys could continue in his role but Winifred Robinson, who tweeted support for Gracie, was made to stand down from presenting a You and Yours programme on the topic. A BBC source revealed to The Guardian, however, that the corporation's management are "deeply unimpressed" by the conversation.

In a statement, the BBC described the conversation as "ill-advised", adding that Mr Humphrys "regrets" it.

He said: "It was not meant for any other ears than Jon's, although there happened to be a producer in the studio at the time - a woman as it happens, who thought it was very amusing, because they know about the relationship that I have with Jon".

During the off-air conversation, which is thought to have been recorded earlier this week ahead of Monday's show, John Humphrys is heard making light of the pay inequality that's said to be rife at the BBC, and is also heard making quips about former BBC China editor Carrie Gracie. She's actually suggested that you should lose money - you know that, don't you?

In an open letter issued the night before, Gracie had accused the corporation of having a "secretive and illegal pay culture".

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Ms Gracie said she learned previous year that of the four worldwide editors at the corporation, two men had earned more than their female counterparts.

"I mean, obviously if we are talking about the scope for the greatest redistribution I'll have to come back and say well yes Mr Humphrys, but." replied Sopel.

She added: "The Today programme often makes changes to schedules and contributors in the run-up to broadcast".

She said she was due to discuss the issue of pay equality on the programme before she told a producer she had heard the off-air chat. "And comments about your other colleagues, like our Middle East editor and the other men who are earning too much".

The conversation was leaked to the press by former Countryfile presenter Miriam O'Reilly, who won an ageism case against the BBC after she was cut from the programme in 2009. "It's wrong to suggest anything else".

After the conversation between Humphrys and Sopel became public, Garvey tweeted: "The Humphrys-Sopel exchange reveals, very neatly, what we're up against".


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