Huw Edwards scandal: All the allegations made against BBC presenter

Presenter at centre of sex photo scandal still suspended by BBC

Maroosha Muzaffar,Holly Evans,Tara Cobham
Saturday 15 July 2023 12:08 BST
BBC’s Sophie Raworth mistakenly announces that Huw Edwards has resigned

Suspended BBC presenter Huw Edwards is facing several allegations against him after being accused last week of paying a young person for sexually explicit photos.

The Sun first reported allegations against an unnamed presenter on Friday, claiming a top BBC star had paid a young person tens of thousands of pounds for explicit images.

The young person’s mother made the allegations in the Sun newspaper, which published her claim that payments helped fund her child’s crack cocaine habit.

Mr Edwards, who has been suspended by the BBC, was named by his wife Vicky Flind on Wednesday night as the presenter at the centre of the scandal.

Ms Flind also said her husband is suffering from “serious mental health issues” and is receiving in-patient hospital care, adding he intends to respond when he is well enough.

The presenter was hit by fresh allegations on Wednesday evening, with BBC Newsnight reporting the veteran broadcaster sent BBC staff "inappropriate messages".

Separately, a 17-year-old alleged they were following the star on Instagram when he messaged them, using love hearts and kisses, The Sun reported on Tuesday.

Here, we take a look at the allegations facing the BBC presenter:

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What are the allegations?

The first allegations against Mr Edwards emerged in The Sun on Friday. The newspaper - which did not name the presenter in their story - alleged the presenter paid a young person around £35,000 for sexually explicit images. It also claimed the BBC star appeared in his underwear in a video call.

The family of the young person, now 20 years old, claimed the series of payments over three years fuelled their crack cocaine addiction.

Days later the young person’s lawyer issued a statement saying the mother and the Sun had made false claims.

The lawyer said: “For the avoidance of doubt, nothing inappropriate or unlawful has taken place between our client and the BBC personality and the allegations reported in the Sun newspaper are rubbish.”

On Sunday, The Sun published an update that claimed that the presenter called the young person twice after the allegations became public. He reportedly told them in panic “what have you done” and demanded that their mother stop the investigation.

The BBC reported on Tuesday that a second person in their 20s alleged that they were sent threatening messages by the then-unnamed man after meeting on a dating app.

In another set of allegations published by The Sun, a 17-year-old claimed they were following the star on Instagram when he messaged them, using love hearts and kisses.

Separately, a 23-year-old claimed Mr Edwards broke lockdown rules to meet them during the pandemic in February 2021, according to The Sun. Its report alleges the presenter travelled from London to a different county to meet the 23-year-old at their flat in February 2021, when strict lockdown rules were in place.

The young person, who claims to have met the newsreader on a dating website, said Mr Edwards also gave them more than £600 in three payments.

Fresh allegations Mr Edwards sent BBC colleagues "inappropriate messages" also emerged on Wednesday. The new claims come from two current BBC employees and a former member of BBC staff, who said they had received “inappropriate” messages from Mr Edwards on social media, according to BBC Newsnight.

The former employee said they had never met the presenter but received messages from him on social media, “some late at night and signed off with kisses”, which they said they believed was an “abuse of power”.

One of the current staffers said Mr Edwards sent a private message to them on social media, commenting on their physical appearance, which gave them a “cold shudder”.

While the other current BBC employee said Mr Edwards had sent them “inappropriate messages”, which had left them feeling uncomfortable. “There is a power dynamic that made them inappropriate,” they told the BBC.

Two of the three said there was “a reluctance among junior staff to complain to managers about the conduct of high-profile colleagues in case it adversely affected their careers,” Newsnight said.

What have the police said?

Two police forces have determined that no criminal offence was committed.

Neither force is taking any further action with regards to the allegations, with the BBC confirming that it will resume its “fact-finding investigations” to ensure "due process and a thorough assessment of the facts, whilst continuing to be mindful of our duty of care to all involved.”

Known for presenting the BBC’s News At Ten, Mr Edwards has been a familiar face in British television for over 20 years

“Detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command have now concluded their assessment and have determined there is no information to indicate that a criminal offence has been committed”, the Metropolitan Police’s statement read.

“In reaching this decision, they have spoken to a number of parties including the BBC and the alleged complainant and the alleged complainant’s family, both via another police force. There is no further police action. As such, the Met has advised the BBC it can continue with its internal investigation.”

The statement added: “We are aware of media reporting of further allegations against the same individual. No specific details or information about these allegations have been passed to us and therefore there is no police action at this time.”

Meanwhile, South Wales Police also revealed that it has identified “no criminality” and, as such, there are “no ongoing enquiries” being carried out against Mr Edwards.

"South Wales Police has remained in contact with representatives of the Metropolitan Police and the BBC following a meeting on Monday”, a statement from South Wales Police read.

"Information was initially received by the force in April 2023 regarding the welfare of an adult. No criminality was identified.

"Following recent events, further enquiries have been carried out and officers have spoken to a number of parties to establish whether any criminal allegations are being made.

"At this time, there is no evidence that any criminal offences have been committed. There are no ongoing enquiries being carried out by South Wales Police.

"However, should evidence of criminality or safeguarding issues be identified at any point in future then they will be investigated."

What has his wife said?

In a statement issued on his behalf, Vicky Flind stated that Mr Edwards is “receiving in-patient hospital care where he will stay for the foreseeable future” after “suffering from serious mental health issues”, requesting that the family receive privacy.

“In light of the recent reporting regarding the ‘BBC Presenter’ I am making this statement on behalf of my husband Huw Edwards, after what have been five extremely difficult days for our family”, Ms Flind’s statement read.

“I am doing this primarily out of concern for his mental well-being and to protect our children.

“Huw is suffering from serious mental health issues. As is well documented, he has been treated for severe depression in recent years.

“The events of the last few days have greatly worsened matters, he has suffered another serious episode and is now receiving in-patient hospital care where he’ll stay for the foreseeable future.

“Once well enough to do so, he intends to respond to the stories that have been published.

“To be clear Huw was first told that there were allegations being made against him last Thursday.

“In the circumstances and given Huw’s condition I would like to ask that the privacy of my family and everyone else caught up in these upsetting events is respected.

“I know that Huw is deeply sorry that so many colleagues have been impacted by the recent media speculation. We hope this statement will bring that to an end.”

What is the BBC saying?

After Mr Edwards was named as the TV presenter by his wife, the BBC’s director-general Tim Davie sent a note to staff, saying this “is a reminder that the last few days have seen personal lives played out in public. At the heart of this are people and their families.”

He said it will “no doubt be a difficult time for many after a challenging few days” and added: “I want to reassure you that our immediate concern is our duty of care to all involved.

“Also this afternoon, the Metropolitan Police and South Wales Police confirmed they would be taking no further action following an assessment of information provided to them.

“As you know, we were asked to pause our fact finding investigations until that assessment had been concluded. It is important we now continue with this work. I want to be clear that in doing so we will follow due process.

“This remains a very complex set of circumstances. As we have done throughout, our aim must be to navigate through this with care and consideration, in line with the BBC values.”

In a new statement on Thursday, a BBC spokesman said: “We are moving forward with our fact finding investigations.

“We are going to get on with this work calmly, carefully and with diligence, with full consideration of our duty of care to all involved. We will not be providing further comment while this work is ongoing.”

BBC’s director-general Tim Davie sent a note to staff, saying this will “no doubt be a difficult time for many after a challenging few days”

What are politicians saying?

Security minister Tom Tugendhat told Sky News the BBC should be given space to conduct an investigation into the allegations, adding the broadcaster should “make sure that the family are not dragged into this”.

Spokespersons for culture secretary Lucy Frazer and Rishi Sunak both refused to comment in the wake of the BBC presenter being named, saying it was a matter for the BBC.

On Saturday Ms Frazer did comment, saying she had spoken to BBC director-general Tim Davie about the “deeply concerning allegations”.

And on Tuesday, Mr Sunak described the initial allegations as “shocking” and “concerning” on the plane to the Nato summit in Lithuania.

On Saturday Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer did comment, saying she had spoken to BBC director-general Tim Davie about the “deeply concerning allegations”

What are other BBC stars saying?

Several stars at the BBC tweeted over the weekend to try and distance themselves from the allegations at a time when Mr Edwards had not yet been identified.

Jeremy Vine, meanwhile, was among those urging Mr Edwards to “come forward publicly” as speculation about his identity deepened before his wife disclosed his name.

Jeremy Vine was among those urging Mr Edwards to “come forward publicly” as speculation about his identity deepened before his wife disclosed his name on Wednesday

What next?

Currently, Mr Edwards’ wife said the father-of-five is “suffering from serious mental health issues” and is receiving treatment in hospital.

The broadcaster is continuing its “fact-finding investigations” into the allegations, following a pause to allow police to conduct their probe, which found no criminal case.

BBC chief Tim Davie will be questioned in Parliament about the corporation’s leadership during a pre planned committee.

The BBC director general, acting chairwoman Dame Elan Closs Stephens and policy director Clare Sumner have been called to appear before the Lords Communications Committee on Tuesday.

The peers will raise a range of issues, including “in light of recent events, what concerns have been raised about the adequacy of the BBC’s governance arrangements and how it is addressing these”.

The Sun has said it has no plans to publish further allegations.

The newspaper was on Wednesday accused by its former editor David Yelland of having “inflicted terror” on Mr Edwards. , saying the paper now faced a “crisis”.

“I wish @thehuwedwards well,” Mr Yelland wrote on Twitter. “The Sun inflicted terror on Huw despite no evidence of any criminal offence.

“This is no longer a BBC crisis, it is a crisis for the paper. Huw’s privacy must now be respected. Social media also needs speedy reform.”

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