BBC host grills her boss about the gender pay gap live on air

Louis Dor
Thursday 20 July 2017 08:45
Celebrities
Picture:(Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images for #Grazia10)

Mishal Husain is a host on BBC Radio 4's Today programme and chaired the BBC's most recent election debate between party leaders (although Theresa May was notoriously absent).

Yesterday the BBC released data on on-air talent's salaries, revealing that two-thirds of stars earning more than £150,000 are male while showing a 10 per cent gender pay gap overall.

Husain interviewed BBC Director-General Lord Tony Hall hours before the organisation released the figures and took him to task over the gender pay gap at the corporation.

Hall said:

By 2020 we’ll have equality between men and women on air, and we’ll have the pay gap sorted by then too.

Whatever company we’re in to look at the gender pay gap and do something about it and I’m committed to doing something about it.

Husain then pressed him for details - would overall female wages go up? Would men's salaries be cut? How would the balance be reached?

Hall talked a lot about responsibility and managing within means.

Mishal probed further:

I’m not sure what that means in terms of managing the gender pay gap - does that mean you’re going to be asking the men to take a pay cut?

Hall replied:

We'll be working through, case by case, to ensure that I can sit here in 2020 and say to you and look you in the eye, more importantly look our license fee payers in the eye, and say 'We have equality of pay between men and women, and by the way equality across television and radio between men and women presenting our programmes, acting in our programmes' - some areas by the way, we already have that. In drama, for example, it's already 50/50 between men and women in lead roles.

Mishal interjected:

But that means the overall pay for around 100 people could go up, for the highest earning.

Hall replied:

We have to manage within our means and you know that and I know that. We've got to look after public money very, very carefully. It's not our money it's the license fee payer's.

That's where the segment ended. Sadly Mishal never got firm answers for what specific methods the BBC would take to balance pay.

Twitter loved her pressing for specifics:

People also compared her frequently to John Humphrys, her co-host who was recently criticised for a terrible interview with Johanna Konta:

Speaking on Radio 4's Media Show after the figures were released on Wednesday, Humphrys said of his salary:

On paper, absolutely nothing that justifies that amount of money.

If you compare me with lots of other people - a doctor who saves a child's life, a nurse who comforts a dying person, or a fireman who rushes into Grenfell Tower - then of course you couldn't argue that I am not worth tuppence ha'penny.

However, we operate in a market place and I think I provide a fairly useful service. Somebody has to do the job of trying to hold power to account and speak the truth about all that stuff.

Speaking about the decision to unveil thee figures and the BBC's reluctance to do so, he said:

I can see the reasons why they took that view, because it might end up distorting the market place, but as an individual, as opposed to a BBC corporate person, I am perfectly happy that people should know what I earn and I am terribly interested in seeing the reaction.

It may be that I am absolutely stunned and pack it all in a week Thursday and say 'that's it, I'm full of shame,' but let's see what happens.

Reacting to the news that his colleagues Sarah Montague and Mishal Husain did not make the top 10 list, he said:

I'm not happy with that... I don't think that is right.

HT Media Guido

More: The Tories just announced really bad news on the day the BBC pay came out

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