The BBC has come under sharp criticism after details were released on how much it pays presenter June Sarpong.

Sarpong, 44, who was made an OBE for services to broadcasting earlier this month, earns £267,000 a year for working a three-day week as the corporation’s director of creative diversity, according to its annual report.

The Mail on Sunday worked out that this means she would earn £445,000 if she did the job full-time – almost £20,000 more than the BBC’s Director-General Tim Davie’s annual salary of £429,000.

The reports have sparked a fierce debate on social media, with some Twitter users questioning why she’s being paid so much license-payer’s cash.

However, others have defended the diversity campaigner, asking why she is being singled out despite scores of other presenters earning similarly eye-watering sums.

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith is among those to speak out about her reported wages.

He told the Sunday paper: “How can anyone be worth paying £267,000 for working three days a week?

“Once again the BBC has scored an own goal. There must be thousands of perfectly qualified people who would do this job for less.”

Here’s what other critics have had to say:

And here’s what defenders of Sarpong have responded:

Sarpong began her career on radio, before becoming a presenter for MTV, moving on to ITV’s ‘Loose Wome’n, and then taking a seat on Sky News debate show ‘The Pledge’.

She has also been involved in advocacy work and was made an MBE in 2007 for services to charity and broadcasting.

Earlier this month, she said that businesses could learn lessons from England’s successful multicultural football squad, as she stressed that social and economic diversity was “definitely a key priority” for the BBC.

Speaking after collecting her OBE, the 44-year-old said: “I think the lessons that not just the BBC but industries across the board can learn from football is their approach to nurturing talent from a young age from low-income communities.

“If there is a young, talented footballer from a poor community, they will know about them and they will be able to go and develop them and support them.

“I think that is what we need to do better – not expecting people from low-income backgrounds to come to us, but for us to go to them.

“I think that is something that can be learned from football, for sure.”

Responding to the salary backlash, a BBC spokesman told indy100 : “Audiences from all backgrounds and communities must see themselves represented in our programmes. This is an absolute priority for the BBC.

“June is delivering the BBC’s first creative diversity strategy and has overseen our most significant financial investment in diverse content on and off air.

“She brings extensive experience and knowledge to the BBC Executive Committee in an area we are committed to improving.

“More broadly on pay, our recent annual report shows that the BBC has reduced senior leader numbers by five percent and top talent pay is down ten percent on last year.”

Indy100 has contacted Sarpong’s agents for comment.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)