Miriam O'Reilly faced 'resentment' after BBC age tribunal

 

Miriam O'Reilly has said she faced "seething resentment" when she returned to work at the BBC after winning an age discrimination case against the corporation.

The former Countryfile presenter took the BBC to an employment tribunal when she was rejected for a role on a revamped prime-time version of the popular rural affairs programme.

She was given a three-year contract with the BBC after the tribunal but left after a year to work at a charity she set up to help women facing discrimination in the workplace.

O'Reilly told the Guardian that her return to the BBC was "a damage-limitation exercise" by the corporation.

She said: "Of the people that I worked with, 99.9% of them treated me with tremendous respect and support and encouragement.

"But from certain individuals there was a seething resentment that I had won the case, executives who were really angry that I had challenged them and won resoundingly. They didn't like it that a woman had stood up to them. There was a huge amount of resentment there."

Her high-profile case came after the BBC was criticised for axing Arlene Phillips as a judge on the hit show Strictly Come Dancing.

The corporation apologised after O'Reilly won the case, which saw former BBC1 controller Jay Hunt forced to deny claims that she axed four female presenters from the show because she "hated women".

Earlier this month, former newsreader Anna Ford accused the BBC of "tokenism" in its approach to employing older women.

PA

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