The BBC, Britain’s public broadcaster, suspended a male staff member on Sunday after a report in The Sun newspaper that an unnamed male presenter had paid tens of thousands of pounds to a person starting when they were 17 years old in exchange for “sexually explicit photographs.”
The Sun did not identify the presenter, and the BBC did not identify the staff member who was suspended.
In a statement announcing the suspension, the BBC said that the company “became aware of a complaint in May,” and “new allegations were put to us on Thursday of a different nature.”
“The BBC takes any allegations seriously, and we have robust internal processes in place to proactively deal with such allegations,” the company said, adding, “This is a complex and fast moving set of circumstances, and the BBC is working as quickly as possible to establish the facts in order to properly inform appropriate next steps.”
The BBC said it expected to provide updates “in the coming days” and that the BBC board would be kept up to date.
Government ministers said the BBC should act swiftly in its investigation but also urged caution.
“We have to remember there is a young person at the center of this who will be feeling all sorts of emotions and will be feeling possibly very, very distressed, so we do need, please, to keep that person in our minds as we discuss this,” said Victoria Atkins, a treasury minister.
Lucy Frazer, the minister of culture, media and sport, said on Sunday she had spoken to the BBC’s director general about the allegations.
“Given the nature of the allegations it is important that the BBC is now given the space to conduct its investigation, establish the facts and take appropriate action,” she said on Twitter. “I will be kept updated.”
The BBC has also faced other crises in recent months.
Gary Lineker, a high-profile sports anchor, was suspended in March for criticizing Britain’s immigration policies, triggering a staff mutiny that briefly plunged the broadcaster into chaos.
Richard Sharp, the chairman of the BBC, resigned in April for his role in arranging a nearly $1 million loan for Boris Johnson while he was prime minister.
ITV, the largest ad-supported network in Britain, was also the subject of a recent scandal involving one of its top stars. Phillip Schofield, 61, a former anchor for ITV who was one of Britain’s most prominent television personalities, resigned from his position last month after admitting to a relationship with a much younger man employed by the same show.
Mr. Lineker, the sports anchor, said on Saturday, “Hate to disappoint the haters but it’s not me.”