Some of the BBC’s leading male presenters have agreed to take a pay cut after revelations over equal pay.
Jeremy Vine, John Humphrys and Huw Edwards have agreed to reductions, either formally or in principle, the BBC’s media editor Amol Rajan said.
It follows Carrie Gracie’s resignation from her post as BBC China editor in protest at unequal pay between male and female international editors.
5 live presenter Nicky Campbell told listeners he had also taken a cut.
And North America editor Jon Sopel is believed to be in discussions with the corporation.
The corporation said: “The BBC has agreed pay cuts with a number of leading BBC News presenters and others have agreed in principle.”
On his way into work at Radio 2 on Friday, Jeremy Vine was asked by reporters why he had agreed to a lower wage.
“I think it needs to be sorted out and I support my female colleagues who have rightly said they should be paid the same when they’re doing the same job,” he said.
“It’s just a no-brainer, so it wasn’t a problem for me to accept one.”
When asked if it was up to the BBC or individuals to sort out the problem, he added: “I think the BBC’s on it and this story is part of it.”
Asked if he was aware of the problem before Carrie Gracie stepped down as China editor, he said: “Of course, yeah.”
The BBC revealed the pay of on-air talent earning over £150,000 in July, with two-thirds of stars on the list being men.
BBC taking ‘a range of action’
Nicky Campbell confirmed on BBC 5 live’s Breakfast show on Friday that he had taken a pay cut.
Just after the latest news story about male presenters was read out, he added: “And I am also on that list.”
An independent audit into equal pay at the BBC will be published next week.
The corporation added: “We’ve already set out a range of action we’re taking on fair pay, and we’ll have more to say on the issue next week.”
- Jeremy Vine – the Radio 2, Eggheads and Points of View presenter earned between £700,000 and £749,999 in 2016/17
- John Humphrys – the Today programme and Mastermind host earned between £600,000 and £649,999
- Huw Edwards – the BBC News presenter earned between £550,000 and £599,999
- Nicky Campbell – the BBC Radio 5 live and The Big Questions presenter earned between £400,000-£449,999
- Jon Sopel – the BBC’s North America editor earned between £200,000 and £249,999
Chris Evans topped the list of the best-paid BBC presenters that was published last summer, earning between £2.2m and £2.25m in 2016/2017.
The highest-paid woman, Claudia Winkleman, earned significantly less – between £450,000 and £500,000.
After leaving her post as China editor, Gracie is now returning to the BBC newsroom in London, saying she expects to be “paid equally”.
Amol Rajan said while competition in the entertainment industry had intensified, the opposite has happened in news.
Gender pay gap
“Many of those now taking pay cuts secured generous deals years ago,” he said.
“That world has disappeared – and these presenters now accept that a chunk of their salaries will have to disappear with it.”
Gracie is due to appear before a select committee of MPs next week, shortly before the director general of the BBC, Tony Hall, his deputy, Anne Bulford and the director of news and current affairs, Fran Unsworth.
They were called to discuss what action the corporation is taking to address the gender pay gap.
There have been three investigations into gender pay at the BBC:
- A report was published in October, in line with a requirement on all large organisations. It found the gender pay gap at the BBC was 9.3%, against a national average of 18.1%
- A judge-led audit of equal pay among rank-and-file staff published at the same time found there was “no question of any systemic gender discrimination”
- A review into the BBC’s approach to the pay of on-air presenters, editors and correspondents is due to be published next week
Lord Hall pledged to close the gap by 2020, saying the corporation should be “an exemplar of what can be achieved when it comes to pay, fairness, gender and representation”.