Four of the BBC’s top earning male presenters have agreed to have their wages cut following a row at the corporation over the gender pay gap.
Jeremy Vine, John Humphrys, and Huw Edwards will all see their wages drop, according to the BBC’s media editor Amol Rajan.
And “5 Live” presenter Nicky Campbell told listeners he had also taken a cut.
Vine told reporters on Friday that the pay gap “needs to be sorted out.”
“I support my female colleagues who have rightly said they should be paid the same then 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.”
The salaries of the corporation’s top earners were published in July, in a report that revealed significant disparities between men, women, and ethnic minorities — with the highest seven salaries all paid out to white men.
Not a single woman earned more than £500,000 in the year 2016-7, and no black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) stars made the top 15. Meanwhile, of the 96 people named on the list, only a third were women, and just 10 were from BAME backgrounds.
“Top Gear” presenter Chris Evans topped the list, earning between £2.2 million and £2.25 million for the year 2016-7, while the highest paid woman was Claudia Winkleman, who earned significantly less — between £450,000 and £500,000 for the same year.
Vine was previously earning £700-749,999; Humphrys was on £600-649,999; Edwards was on £550-599,999; and Campbell, £400-449,999.
The news of the four male presenters’ pay cuts comes after the BBC’s China editor, Carrie Gracie, resigned this month after discovering she was being paid less than her male peers.
Carrie Gracie’s stand is important. It’s about respect as well as reward. We don’t want future female broadcasters, journalists, reporters, commentators, editors & producers to have to fight for the right to be paid equally for doing the same job. #equalpay#IStandWithCarriepic.twitter.com/Q3i3srZQNd— Clare Balding (@clarebalding) January 8, 2018
Gracie, after a 30-year career at the BBC, wrote an open letter to the corporation’s audience at the time of her resignation, describing a “secretive and illegal BBC pay culture [that] has inflicted dishonourable choices on those who enforce it.”
One of Gracie’s colleagues, North America editor Jon Sopel, was also reported on Friday to be in discussion about a potential wage cut.
Sopel earned between £200,000 and £249,999 for the year 2016-7, compared to Gracie’s £135,000 a year salary.
Humphrys and Sopel were heard joking about the pay gap a leaked on-air recording following Gracie’s resignation. Humphrys told Sopel: “Oh dear God. She’s actually suggested that you should lose money — you know that don’t you?”
The BBC confirmed in a statement on Friday that it “has agreed pay cuts with a number of leading BBC News presenters and others have agreed in principal.”
An independent audit into equal pay at the BBC will also be published next week, according to the BBC.
“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,” it said.
A report on the gender pay gap at the BBC was published in October, which found that the gap at the BBC was 9.3%, compared to the national average of 18.1%.
The director general of the BBC, Tony Hull, has pledged to close the gender pay gap by 2020, saying the BBC should be “an exemplar of what can be achieved when it comes to pay, fairness, gender, and representation.”
Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN’s Global Goals, which include action on gender equality. You can join us on this issue by taking action here in support of the #LeveltheLaw campaign, which aims to eliminate laws that discriminate against women and girls around the world.