The BBC operates a “secretive and illegal pay culture” that systematically discriminates against women, according to one of its most senior journalists, who has quit her job as China editor after learning that two of her male peers were paid significantly more.
In a withering, open letter which she put online on Sunday night, Carrie Gracie — who spent part of last week as a guest anchor on Today, the BBC’s main morning news programme — accused her bosses of taking a “divide-and-rule” approach to female staff.
“We have felt trapped,” she wrote, in a letter first published by BuzzFeed News. “Speaking out carries the risk of disciplinary measures or even dismissal; litigation can destroy careers and be financially ruinous.” She accused the BBC of demanding non-disclosure agreements that were “unworthy of an organisation committed to truth”.
Ms Gracie’s explosive intervention follows an angry backlash from some leading BBC presenters after a list of its 96 top-earning stars, published last summer, revealed that women made up just one-third of the on-air broadcasters paid ￡150,000 and more.
A subsequent “pay audit”, conducted by PwC and Eversheds, found “no systemic discrimination against women” at the broadcaster.
However, that review did not cover senior managers, on-air editors, presenters or correspondents. Those are “the women with the biggest pay gaps”, according to Ms Gracie. She claims that “up to 200 BBC women have made pay complaints only to be told repeatedly there is no pay discrimination”.
The BBC said it would publish a report for on-air staff “in the not too distant future”.
Unlike Jon Sopel, the US editor, and Jeremy Bowen, the Middle East editor, Ms Gracie’s name does not appear on a list of BBC broadcasters who were paid at least ￡150,000 last year, indicating she received a lower salary for her role as China editor.
与BBC美国主编乔恩?索佩尔(Jon Sopel)和中东主编杰里米?鲍恩(Jeremy Bowen)不同，格雷西的名字没有出现在去年年薪不低于15万英镑的BBC员工名单中，说明她作为中国主编得到的薪水要更低一些。
“[The BBC] said there were differences between roles which justified the pay gap, but it has refused to explain these differences,” Ms Gracie wrote.
She says she was offered “a big pay rise which remained far short of equality”, but decided instead to leave China to “return to my former post in the TV newsroom where I expect to be paid equally”.
The BBC said in a statement that “fairness in pay is vital”.
“A significant number of organisations have now published their gender pay figures showing that we are performing considerably better than many,” the corporation added.