Emily Maitlis questions BBC's 'distasteful' reporting of Huw Edwards story

The journalist asked whether a colleague's first port of call should be to go to HR

File photo dated 24/8/2022 of Emily Maitlis. The Duke of York sought permission from the Queen to be questioned about his association with paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, the TV presenter has claimed. Andrew came under intense scrutiny following his disastrous BBC Newsnight interview in 2019 over allegations that Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre was trafficked to have sex with the royal when she was 17. Issue date: Thursday April 27, 2023.
Emily Maitlis has addressed the Huw Edwards scandal. (PA Images/Alamy)

Emily Maitlis has questioned whether the BBC’s reporting on the allegations against Huw Edwards has been “a bit distasteful”.

Edwards - who is the highest paid news presenter on the taxpayer-funded BBC - was named as the presenter alleged to have paid thousands to a young person in exchange for sexual pictures.

Some BBC staff have also made claims about inappropriate messages by the TV star.

Read more: BBC viewers praise Clive Myrie for his handling of Huw Edwards story

Addressing the story on her News Agents podcast, Maitlis suggested colleagues should approach HR or management first, rather than turning something into a new story.

The journalist – who worked for the BBC for many years – was talking about how parts of the story were being covered by The Sun and the BBC, saying reporters from both were “weirdly working, sort of competing, but working in the same circle together” with the corporation “on a different setting”.

Huw Edwards in N9 news studio for the Ten O clock news (Photo by Jeff Overs/BBC News & Current Affairs via Getty Images)
Huw Edwards was revealed to be the unnamed BBC presenter. (BBC News & Current Affairs via Getty Images)

"Now in one way we should be very pleased with that," she said.

"We want to have Chinese walls between the editorial side and the management side.

“But there is something a bit distasteful I think, about, if you know this stuff about a colleague, why isn't your first duty to then go to HR? Or to go to a senior manager or to say ‘I think this is going on’ rather than to turn it into a news story."

On Wednesday, Edwards was named as the BBC presenter accused by The Sun of paying a young person, now aged 20, for sexual images.

The newspaper’s initial report published on 7 July suggested that this had started when the individual was 17 - a potentially serious criminal offence, leading the BBC to launch an investigation into its handling of a complaint that was initially raised by the parents of the person in May.

Huw Edwards poses for photographers upon arrival for a the Royal Television Society Awards in central London, Tuesday, Mar 19, 2019. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
Huw Edwards' wife revealed that he was the presenter in question. (Invision/AP)

Reports have raised questions over whether the BBC dealt with the issue appropriately.

The police has since said no criminal act took place.

Read more: Media figures among those sending support to ‘superb broadcaster’ Huw Edwards

The Sun subsequently claimed its initial report did not allege any criminality had taken place.

Edwards was named when his wife Vicky Flind confirmed in a statement that he was the BBC presenter.

She said he was admitted to hospital and was “suffering from serious mental health issues” amid the fallout and that “once well enough to do so, he intends to respond to the stories that have been published”.

Watch: Emily Maitlis reveals Prince Andrew was 'pleased' with Newsnight interview