Four male BBC presenters agree to pay cut over equal pay

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Last year, the broadcaster published a list of its top earners, setting out the pay for staff on more than £150,000, revealing a shocking gap in the earnings of its most well-known male and female presenters and actors.

A few weeks ago, John Humphrys and Jon Sopel were recorded during "an ill-advised off-air conversation which the presenter regrets" regarding the issue of equal pay.

The corporation is also believed to be in discussions with North America editor Jon Sopel, the BBC News website says. "You've read the thing properly, have you?"

Ms Gracie revealed she had been earning £135,000 before the offered her a £45,000 rise, which she rejected.

Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen was on the list (£150,000-£199,999) but neither Ms Gracie or her fellow female worldwide editor, Europe editor Katya Adler, were among the BBC's best paid.

"In thirty years at the BBC, I have never sought to make myself the story and never publicly criticised the organisation I love". She still would have been earning less than Bowen and Sopel.

Ms. Gracie had been one of four worldwide editors at the BBC. In an open letter she accused the corporation of having a "secretive and illegal pay culture".

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In response to the leak, Humphrys told the Times it was all just banter and mickey taking.

"I'm not exactly on the breadline", admitted Humphrys, after his latest pay cut for presenting the Today programme and BBC2's Mastermind, reduced his income to around £300,000, from up to £650,000.

It is understood that the four presenters had no idea their names would be published, and some were unhappy that they were singled out by the BBC.

BBC 5 live's Breakfast host Campbell confirmed, while on-air, that he was taking a pay cut.

According to BBC News, Nicky Campbell, Jeremy Vine, John Humphrys, Huw Edwards and Jon Sopel have agreed formally or in principle, to reduce their salaries.

Earlier this month on Women's Hour, Gracie explained her reasons for leaving saying that she couldn't 'stay silent and watch the BBC perpetuate a failing pay structure by discriminating against women.' She is now planning to return to the BBC on the condition she receives equal pay.

The briefings on salary cuts are timed to coincide with a Parliamentary hearing on its gender pay gap next Thursday - and is nearly certainly created to draw some sting from what will be a hard encounter. Lord Tony Hall, the director general has also pledged to close the pay gap in the next two years, stating that the wants the BBC be 'an exemplar of what can be achieved when it comes to pay, fairness, gender, and representation.

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