One of BBC’s top earning presenters says sorry after report he shared sexually explicit image

One of the BBC’s highest-earning presenters has said he is “deeply sorry” after a newspaper report alleged he had shared a sexually explicit photograph with staff.

A number of claims were made about Stephen Nolan in The Irish News on Tuesday, including that he had sent the image of reality TV star Stephen Bear in 2016.

It was reported that the presenter shared the image when he had wanted to book Bear as a guest on his TV show.

Bear, a former Celebrity Big Brother winner, was jailed for 21 months earlier this year after being convicted of revenge porn and voyeurism.

Addressing the allegations on his morning radio show on Radio Ulster on Friday, Nolan said: “We have had days, as you probably know, of headlines about me and the Nolan team in the papers this week.

“I am not ignoring the story. It is just that the BBC has processes in place to deal with staff complaints and I do need to totally respect those processes.

“They have got to be confidential for them to work.

“I can say one thing though and it is that I am sorry.

What are the questions the BBC haven't answered?

“There was a photograph, it was widely available on the internet and I was talking to a long-term friend and peer outside of work.

“I am deeply sorry.”

Nolan is the BBC’s fifth-highest paid talent and earns between £400,000-404,999.

Only Gary Lineker, Zoe Ball, Alan Shearer and Huw Edwards are paid more.

He’s rejected a claim that his team manipulate programmes by planting producers in the studio audience.

The Irish News also alleges a former member of staff made a claim of bullying and harassment against Nolan, which has not been upheld.

The publication also said that messages between Nolan’s team members included abusive remarks about politicians.

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In a statement earlier this week, BBC Northern Ireland’s director Adam Smyth said: “There are important considerations of fairness and confidentiality involved in the handling of any workplace-related complaint.

“We take these obligations seriously – and in the interests of everyone involved.

“It is for these reasons that we cannot comment on the specifics of any individual case, who/what it may have involved or its outcome.”

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