Mishal Husain says Sunday Times wrong to claim BBC women pay-gap group now focused on 'sex pest' claims

BBC presenter Mishal Husain has said the Sunday Times was wrong to claim that a group of BBC women which formed following gender pay gap concerns at the corporation had shifted its focus to sexual harassment.

The report said the group, whose membership is secret but is believed to include a number of high-profile names, had uncovered “a string of suspected sexual harassment cases at the corporation”.

It claimed the group’s conversations had changed to sexual harassment in the wake of allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and that it had encouraged colleagues to report claims to management.

In a post on Twitter, Today programme presenter Husain (pictured top) said: “Today The Sunday Times used my name and image in a story headlined ‘Top BBC women expose sex pests’. It is an inaccurate portrayal of conversations women at the BBC have been having since the pay gaps were identified in July.

“Our group acts as a forum for female colleagues to come together, which many of us wish had existed earlier in our careers and which discusses a wide range of issues, offering support and advice where necessary.

“It is wrong to portray it as being focused on sexual harassment or targeting individuals.”

The BBC suspended Radio 5 Live sports presenter George Riley on Friday over claims of sexual harassment by five women, the Daily Mirror has reported.

A BBC spokesperson told the paper: “We can’t comment on individuals, but treat any allegations seriously and have processes in place for investigating them.”

The BBC’s North America correspondent, Rajini Vaidyanathan, revealed earlier this month that she had experienced sexual harassment.

She said a former colleague had told her: “I’m unbelievably sexually attracted to you. I can’t stop thinking about you,” during a dinner in New York when she was about 25 years old.

Recalling a separate incident “a few years ago”, she added: “A married former colleague of mine began sending me messages containing explicit details of his sexual desires. ‘I have become obsessed with pleasuring myself,’ he wrote. ‘I just can’t control myself.’”

Picture: Jeff Overs/BBC

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