LONDON: The BBC´s 12 best-paid stars are all men, according to figures published late on Tuesday by Britain´s public broadcaster, which is grappling with a gender equality scandal in which one of its most senior correspondents resigned from her role.
The BBC issued a public apology last month to former China editor Carrie Gracie, who quit that job in January in a highly public protest at being paid less than her male counterparts. This year´s list showed Match of the Day host Gary Lineker was the best-paid person in 2017-2018, whose earnings fell in the 1.75-1.76 million pound ($2.33 million) bracket.
The top earning woman, presenter Claudia Winkleman, was paid between 370,000 and 379,999 pounds. The corporation, which is funded by a licence fee levied on TV viewers, is obliged to disclose details of people paid more than 150,000 pounds.
Men occupied the top 12 slots and accounted for around six in 10 of the highest-paid on-air talent. Director General Tony Hall said the BBC was committed to closing the gender pay gap by 2020, but added that "these things take time".
The list sparked debate on Twitter, with parliamentarian Anna Soubry saying Hall was talking "tosh". "No it doesn´t ´take time´ to pay your women presenters & journos fairly #EqualPay - just get on with it," she tweeted.
The BBC said the proportion of men in the list of top earners had fallen to 59 percent in the current financial year from 76 percent in 2016-17.It added that this year´s list did not fully reflect some pay rises and pay cuts, which would filter through next year. Winkleman, who fronts popular entertainment shows including Strictly Come Dancing, was in eighth place last year, but the BBC said her fall to 13th place was linked to a structural shake-up.
Some people fell down the list because they work for programmes made by BBC Studios, which is now considered a commercial entity and therefore does not have to disclose what it pays. The BBC said eight women, including high-profile news presenters, had joined the list this year, but only one had gone up a pay band, while four men had done so. The corporation has paid Gracie a large sum in backpay which she is donating to the Fawcett Society, a women´s rights organisation that campaigns for equal pay.