Top BBC journalist quits over ‘secretive and illegal pay culture’
LONDON: A senior BBC journalist who worked with the organization for 30 years has called it a day on a bitter note citing gender pay gap.
Carrie Gracie announced she had quit as China editor to speak out over the corporation “breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure”.
The journalist said the broadcaster faced a “crisis of trust” and an “exodus of female talent” after it was revealed last year that two-thirds of its top-earning staff were men.
Her open letter, addressed to the licence-payers and published on her website, called for urgent changes to the BBC’s culture, which she said routinely led women to be paid less than their male colleagues.
She wrote: “With great regret, I have left my post as China editor to speak out publicly on a crisis of trust at the BBC.
“I believe you have a right to know that it is breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure.”
She added: “It is not men earning more because they do more of the jobs which pay better. It is men earning more in the same jobs or jobs of equal value.
“It is pay discrimination and it is illegal.”
She said: “I am not asking for more money. I believe I am very well paid already – especially as someone working for a publicly funded organisation. I simply want the BBC to abide by the law and value men and women equally.”
Despite leaving her high profile position, which she has held since 2013, Gracie is staying with the BBC – to return to her former role in the BBC News Channel newsroom.
It was revealed that the highest-paid man at the BBC was Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans on more than £2million a year, while the best-paid woman, Strictly’s Claudia Winkleman, got between £450,000 and £499,999.
The BBC ordered a review into pay amid widespread criticism after it emerged only a third of its stars earning more than £150,000 salaries were women, while the top seven earners were all men.
More than 40 of the corporation’s most high-profile female names, including presenters Clare Balding and Victoria Derbyshire, signed a letter calling for immediate change.
But Ms Gracie said the corporation was “not living up to its stated values of trust, honesty and accountability” and that the BBC’s audit “excluded the women with the biggest pay gaps”.
She added: “I told my bosses the only acceptable resolution would be for all the international editors to be paid the same amount. The right amount would be for them to decide, and I made clear I wasn’t seeking a pay rise, just equal pay. Instead the BBC offered me a big pay rise which remained far short of equality.”