When Catt Sadler left E! after discovering the large gap between her salary and male co-host, Jason Kennedy, the company weakly responded, basically claiming that Kennedy worked harder than Sadler did. Sadler proved that wasn’t true.
A few days ago, BBC lost a veteran reporter, Carrie Gracie, to similar circumstances. Sick of the gender wage gap in the company, Gracie felt the right thing to do was resign.
However, in a conversation leaked to The Sun, two BBC journalists made jokes about the situation. Before an interview about Gracie’s protest, a presenter for Radio 4 Today, John Humphrys, and Jon Sopel, the North America editor for the BBC, had a telephone conversation.
“Slight change of subject, the first question will be how much of your salary you are prepared to hand over to Carrie Gracie to keep her, and then a few comments about your other colleagues, you know, like our Middle East editor [Jeremy Bowen] and the other men who are earning too much,” said Humphrys.
Here is leaked conversation in full between John Humphrys and Jon Sopel. Took place in Today programme studios at 4am on Monday. pic.twitter.com/lib0Gtw5LQ
— Dan Wootton (@danwootton) January 11, 2018
“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…” said Sopel.
“And I could save you the trouble as I could volunteer that I’ve handed over already more than you fucking 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?” said Humphrys, who earns a salary of £600,000-£649,000, whereas Gracie was earning £135,000.
“Oh dear god. She’s actually suggested that you should lose money – you know that don’t you? You’ve read the thing properly, have you?” Humphrys adds.
Now that the conversation has been made public, a BBC spokesperson said that it was: “an ill-advised off-air conversation which the presenter regrets.” However, management is “deeply unimpressed.”
Humphrys said the conversation was “silly banter between old mates” and that it “had nothing to do with Carrie’s campaign.”
@BBCr4today became tiresome because of all the male hectoring. I stopped listening a couple of years ago largely because of John Humphrys. Turned down several invitations to appear for same reason.
— Miriam Akhtar, MAPP (@pospsychologist) January 12, 2018