BBC Journalist Carrie Gracie said she turned down a £45,000 pay rise and resigned because she refused “to collude knowingly in what I consider to be unlawful discrimination” at the corporation.
After her highly publicised resignation, the ex-BBC China editor said she had been determined not to help the corporation “perpetuate a failing pay structure by discriminating against women”.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour: “I could not go back to China and collude knowingly in what I consider to be unlawful pay discrimination. I could not do it, nor could I stay silent and watch the BBC perpetuate a failing pay structure by discriminating against women.”
Ms Gracie said that after the gender pay gap between the salaries of male and female stars was revealed in July, she told BBC managers that she didn’t want more money, just equality with her male counterparts.
She said: “My pay is £135,000. The BBC offered to raise that to £180,000; however, I was not interested in more money. I was interested in equality and I kept saying to my managers that I didn’t need more money, I just needed to be made equal and that can be done in a variety of ways.”
Gracie, who was interviewed by freelance journalist Jane Martinson due to broadcasting impartiality rules preventing show host Jane Garvey from doing so, said she became frustrated by the pay rise offer made last October.
She said: “I didn’t feel that it was a solution, I felt it was a divide-and-rule, botched solution that would not make the BBC better. And I do love the BBC.”
In a letter published earlier, addressed to the BBC Audience, she explained that she would be returning to her former post in the TV newsroom “where I expect to be paid equally”.
On the issue of whether pay should be slashed, she told Martinson: “I believe in public service broadcasting, and I do think, as you will have seen from my letter, I do think salaries at the top are unacceptably high, both for presenters and stars of various kinds, and also for managers actually.”
But she said did not have the information to enable her to say what needs to be done, criticising the BBC for being “a secretive organisation” on pay, which she added makes it difficult for women to know whether the corporation is applying the law in individual instances.
Clare Balding, Emily Maitlis and Sarah Montague were among a string of prominent colleagues to voice their support for Gracie, who said the corporation was facing “a crisis of…