TV and radio star Jeremy Vine said the unnamed presenter at the center of the BBC riot “needs to come forward”, adding: “The longer he stops doing it, the worse it will be for him.”
Vine and Piers Morgan are among the high-profile figures who have called for the unnamed BBC presenter to go public, while a host of other BBC stars including Gary Lineker, Nicky Campbell, Rylan Clark and Vine have all been coerced , publicly denying that they are the person in question.
Vine, who also hosts an afternoon show on BBC Radio 2, said on his Channel 5 show: “It’s his choice but he has to come forward now I think.”
“I know his survival instinct kicked in and I know he saw what happened to Phillip Schofield but my god look at the damage to the BBC, look at the damage to his friends, to those who who are falsely accused – and the longer he stays at it the worse it will be for him.”
Vine said he thought “very carefully” before posting a tweet Tuesday night urging the unnamed presenter to come forward, adding, “I know the person concerned. I’m very worried about his mental state and what it’s doing to him.
“I haven’t spoken to him but I’ve heard from someone who has said he is described as angry and interested in playing long.
“To me that means he wants to remain anonymous for as long as possible in the hope that one day he’ll be able to go back into the building.”
On the front page of The Sun, the newspaper reported on Wednesday that a 23-year-old person has claimed the BBC presenter broke lockdown rules to meet her in February 2021 during the pandemic.
The newspaper also reported an additional claim from another person, who said the moderator “started a chat with a teenage follower via his Instagram account — using love hearts and kisses in his messages.”
According to The Sun, the person was 17 when the presenter contacted them “out of the blue”.
Separately, BBC News reported on Tuesday that a person in his early 20s claimed to have received threatening messages from the unnamed man.
BBC News said it contacted the presenter through his lawyer but had no response to the allegations.
On July 9, the BBC issued an update to staff and media, confirming it had suspended the unnamed presenter after The Sun first published an allegation that the presenter had paid a teenager tens of thousands of pounds for sexually explicit images .
But the young person at the center of the controversy later said through lawyers in a letter to the BBC that nothing improper or illegal had happened to the unnamed presenter.
BBC News said they did not know the young man’s identity and had not spoken to him directly, but said the letter was sent by a multinational law firm.
Her mother told The Sun they stand by the claims and a spokesman for The Sun said it was “now up to the BBC to do a proper investigation”.
On Tuesday, the company’s chief executive Tim Davie said he had ordered a review to “assess the extent to which some complaints within the organization are flagged as red flags” when the BBC’s annual report was unveiled.
He said the BBC was dealing with a “complex and difficult situation” following the “serious allegations”.
After meeting with the Metropolitan Police, the company was asked to suspend its internal investigation into the allegations “while the police plan future work”.
A police spokesman said they continue to conduct an “assessment to determine if there is evidence of commission of a crime” and “there is no police investigation at this time”.
A BBC statement on Tuesday said: “The events of the last few days have shown how complex and challenging such cases can be and the importance of them being handled with the utmost care and diligence.”
“Of course there are lessons to be learned from this exercise.”