‘Surreal’: Huw Edwards was secretly investigated by BBC reporters before scandal erupted

‘Surreal’: Huw Edwards was secretly investigated by BBC reporters before scandal erupted

According to Deadline, the entertainment website, Newsnight’s Victoria Derbyshire had examined accusations of inappropriate behaviour in the workplace in the days before The Sun published its story.

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Her reporting was said to have “raised eyebrows among some BBC staff”, with one describing it as “surreal” that one BBC News presenter would investigate another, and an industry source saying there was “boiling fury” that the corporation had run the story.

Another said it was “on-brand” as Derbyshire styles herself as “a voice for the underdog”.

While Edwards remained unnamed this week, Derbyshire explained to the Newsnight audience why coverage of the story mattered. “Quite simply, it’s about trust. Your trust in the BBC, funded by you, through the licence fee.”

BBC sources said that journalists had received information about alleged behaviour by Edwards and taken “initial soundings” prior to The Sun story, which they built upon after The Sun published.

Friends of Edwards said he was angry at the behaviour of BBC News colleagues.

Jon Sopel, who has known him for 35 years, said: “We’ve had contact, obviously not since he’s been hospitalised. He was very angry, I think felt very let down by what happened in The Sun, furious with their coverage, not overly impressed with the BBC’s coverage either.”

The allegations involving junior members of staff raised the question of whether BBC News management were aware of them prior to the Newsnight report.

The programme said there was “a reluctance among junior staff to complain to managers about the conduct of high-profile colleagues in case it adversely affected their careers”.

Asked if managers had ever received a complaint from staff about his alleged conduct, the BBC said it would not comment on an individual case while an internal investigation was ongoing.

A spokesperson said: “We are communicating with staff and will continue to do so. We always treat the concerns of staff with care, and would always urge any staff members to speak to us if they have any concerns.

“We have clear processes for making complaints within the organisation, including whistleblowing procedures should someone wish to do so anonymously.”

They added: “We are moving forward with our fact-finding investigations. We are going to get on with this work calmly, carefully and with diligence, with full consideration of our duty of care to all involved.

“We will not be providing further comment while this work is ongoing.”

The BBC has resumed its investigation after the Metropolitan Police announced on Wednesday that they had found no evidence of criminality.

The corporation cannot speak to Edwards until he feels well enough to respond, raising the prospect of a drawn-out process.

His wife, Vicky Flind, who named him in a statement to the Press Association on Wednesday, said Edwards intends to respond to the story “once well enough to do so”.

He is receiving in-patient care for a serious depressive episode which has been “greatly worsened” by the events of the last few days, she said.

The BBC was contacted by parents of a troubled 20-year-old on May 19, and the matter was referred to the corporate investigations team.

However, the team made only two attempts to contact the family – once by email, and once in a phone call which did not connect. They did not mention the matter to Edwards.

Sopel told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that he hoped Edwards would find a way back to broadcasting.

He said: “If, at the end of this, what you are left with is someone who had some personal struggles about who he was, what he was, how he lived his life, and he made some ill-considered judgments along the way, I think it would be such a shame if such a talented and gifted broadcaster – and the way he navigates state occasions and the big events and reads the news with such authority – if that is lost.”

Telegraph, London

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