Saturday 25 May 2019

Jane Garvey: Carrie Gracie should never have been forced into BBC battle

Fellow presenter Shelagh Fogarty joked of the BBC: ‘Who’s ‘in development’ now?’

Jane Garvey (Abigail Zoe Martin/BBC)
Jane Garvey (Abigail Zoe Martin/BBC)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

BBC stars have welcomed the broadcaster’s apology to Carrie Gracie – but said it was a battle that its former China editor should never have had to fight.

Woman’s Hour host Jane Garvey told the Press Association that the corporation’s apology “tells you everything you need to know”.

She said: “I’m so delighted for Carrie because I know it’s been a colossal strain for her. Although it’s great that she won the battle, it’s not a battle that she should ever have had to fight.”

The Radio 4 host said: “I hugely admire her for sticking her head above the parapet but it should not have happened and should never have had to happen.”

But she said Gracie had “won out and brilliantly” because of the former China editor’s decision to donate her back pay to gender equality charity The Fawcett Society, “which is the most graphic illustration of the point that she was always trying to make – that it wasn’t about her but a point of principle”.

BBC China Editor Carrie Gracie (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Garvey added: “She (Gracie) passionately believes in this – we have used our privilege to get this matter attention and I really hope it impacts positively on women who don’t have our privilege.”

She went on: “There are many other pay grievance claims going through the BBC featuring women on much smaller salaries and, obviously when you take in pension contributions over 15 or 20 years, that adds up to huge sums of money that women have been missing out on.”

Broadcaster Shelagh Fogarty quipped that the BBC was “in development” – after Gracie told MPs earlier this year that she was given that assessment of her own career for not being paid as much as her male counterparts by the broadcaster.

“All power to you, Carrie. Who’s ‘in development’ now?”, she tweeted, adding: “Hopefully the BBC.”

Presenter Clare Balding tweeted: “I admire Carrie Gracie so much for her principled stand and applaud the dignity with which she has handled this situation.

“To donate all of the agreed backpay confirms what we already knew – she is not fighting the fight for herself but for ALL.”

Broadcaster Robin Lustig tweeted: “Well done Carrie. A battle well waged and well won.”

Saturday Live presenter Aasmah Mir wrote: “IMPORTANT: The BBC apologises for underpaying Carrie Gracie. Before you start – she’s donating the money to charity.”

And Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson tweeted: “Well done Carrie Gracie. That’s quite a result.”

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