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    Veteran BBC Presenter Humphrys in Hot Water Over Gender Pay Gap Joke

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    John Humphrys has claimed the off-air conversation was "silly banter between old mates." A source in the BBC said that the remarks have left management "unimpressed" and that the presenter regretted what he had said.

    John Humphrys, the host of BBC Radio 4’s Today program, has come under fire after making controversial gender pay inequality remarks in a leaked conversation with North America editor Jon Sopel.

    Humphrys’ comments were caught on a microphone Monday during an off-air discussion before co-presenting the radio show with former China Editor Carrie Gracie, who recently resigned from her position in protest against gender pay discrimination at the network. She also suggested that some of the BBC’s higher earning men should take pay cuts.

    The conversation began with Humphrys asking Sopel how much of his salary he was prepared to "hand over to Carrie Gracie to keep her?"

    READ MORE: New German Wage Law to Help Tackle Gender Pay Gap

    Sopel replies, "I mean, obviously if we are talking about the scope for the greatest redistribution I’ll have to come back and say well yes Mr. Humphrys, but …"

    Humphrys remarked, "I could save you the trouble as I could volunteer that I’ve handed over already more than you f***ing earn but I’m still left with more than anybody else and that seems to me to be entirely just – something like that would do it?"

    ​Humphrys reportedly dismissed the remark, saying it was just "silly banter between old mates," but a source in the broadcaster told The Guardian that "management are deeply unimpressed" with the situation and the presenter regrets what has been said.

    Former Countryfile presenter Miriam O’Reilly, who won an age discrimination case against the BBC after being dropped from her show in 2011, said on Twitter, "You should hear the tone of the exchange — base, smug and condescending."

    ​Many users on social media have also condemned Humphrys for joking about the problem.

    ​A BBC spokesperson said, "This was an ill-advised off-air conversation which the presenter regrets."

    "The BBC is committed to getting its pay structures right and, as we have said, we are conducting a comprehensive analysis of presenter pay," the spokesperson added.

    Gracie’s resignation was the latest aftershock since the BBC was forced to disclose the salaries of its top earning employees last year, revealing that two-thirds of them were men. Gracie said she was offered a 33 percent pay raise, but she rejected it, claiming she wanted equality, not more money.


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