The other men who are earning too much

John Humphrys, host of BBC Radio 4’s Today, apparently thinks Carrie Gracie has a hell of a nerve expecting to be paid as much as her male colleagues.

In a leaked conversation recorded before [last] Monday’s programme, Humphrys and the BBC’s North America editor Jon Sopel discuss Carrie Gracie’s comments on the gender pay gap following her resignation as the broadcaster’s China editor on Sunday.

Gracie announced she was resigning from the post in an open letter that was published on her website. She said she was quitting her post after learning that male colleagues, including Sopel, were earning significantly more than her for roles of the same seniority.

Sopel is the one who makes nearly twice as much as she does.

The two men had a phone conversation before an interview on the Today show which Humphrys was co-hosting with Gracie.

Humphrys says: “Slight change of subject, the first question will be how much of your salary you are prepared to hand over to Carrie Gracie to keep her, and then a few comments about your other colleagues, you know, like our Middle East editor [Jeremy Bowen] and the other men who are earning too much.”

Sopel replies: “I mean, obviously if we are talking about the scope for the greatest redistribution I’ll have to come back and say well yes Mr Humphrys, but …”

Meaning, I think, that Humphrys notoriously has the highest pay of all.

Humphrys says: “And I could save you the trouble as I could volunteer that I’ve handed over already more than you fucking earn but I’m still left with more than anybody else and that seems to me to be entirely just – something like that would do it?”

Seems to confirm my interpretation.

Sopel, who seems to be reluctant to have the conversation, says: “Don’t …”

Humphrys interjects: “Oh dear God. She’s actually suggested that you should lose money – you know that don’t you? You’ve read the thing properly have you?”

Sopel says he has, and Humphrys goes on: And the idea is that I’m not allowed to talk to her about it throughout the whole course of the programme. Not a word.”

Meanwhile journalists who tweeted support for Gracie were not allowed to talk about the pay dispute on the air.

Miriam O’Reilly, who won an age discrimination case against the BBC after being dropped from Countryfile in 2011, said on Twitter that she was “disappointed to be stood down” from speaking on equal pay on Friday’s Today programme.

O’Reilly was leaked a copy of the recording, but says she did not pass it on to journalists at the Sun or the Times but was “glad it’s being brought to public attention”.

She said the tone of the conversation was “smug and condescending”.

Just a tad.

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