LGBTQ & Gender SinoBeat

BBC seals ‘agreement’ with ex-China editor Carrie Gracie after equal pay row

The BBC on Friday announced it had “reached an agreement” with its former China editor Carrie Gracie who quit in a row over equal pay.

The corporation apologised to the journalist after admitting it had failed to honour a pledge to pay her in line with its North America editor, and said it had “now put this right” in back pay.

Gracie is donating the full, undisclosed amount to the Fawcett Society, a charity that campaigns for gender equality and women’s rights, BBC News reported.

carrie gracie

Carrie Gracie. Photo: BBC screenshot.

She welcomed the settlement, saying it showed that “we can make progress”.

“For me, this was always about the principle, rather than the money,” Gracie added.

“I’m delighted to donate all the backdated pay from the BBC to help women striving for equality at work.”

Gracie resigned as China editor in January over what she called an “indefensible pay gap” with other international editors at the publicly-funded Britih media behemoth.

In July for the first time it published the salaries of its highest-paid stars — in brackets of £50,000 (US$66,000, 56,000 euros) — following pressure from parliament.

Click to read the joint statement in full

The BBC and Carrie Gracie have reached an agreement to resolve their differences.

The BBC acknowledges that Carrie was told she would be paid in line with the North America Editor when she took the role of China Editor, and she accepted the role on that understanding. The BBC is committed to the principle of equal pay and acting in accordance with our values. The BBC acknowledges the specific circumstances relating to Carrie’s appointment, apologises for underpaying Carrie, and has now put this right. Carrie is donating the full amount received to a charity of her choice.

Carrie has made, and will continue to make, an important contribution to the BBC. During her tenure as China Editor, Carrie delivered reports, analysis and work, that were as valuable as those of the other International Editors in the same period.

Carrie Gracie says: “I am glad to have been able to resolve this with the Director-General – it shows that we can make progress. I’m also pleased that my work as China Editor has now been properly recognised by the BBC and relieved that this difficult period is over. For me, this was always about the principle, rather than the money. I’m delighted to donate all the backdated pay from the BBC to help women striving for equality at work.”

Tony Hall says: “I am pleased that we’ve been able to move past our differences and work through things together; we can now look to the future. I’m also glad that Carrie will be contributing to Donalda MacKinnon’s project to make the BBC a great place for women to work. That really matters to me, and I want us to lead the way.”

At her request, Carrie will now take up to six months of unpaid leave to write and speak, on both China and gender equality. Neither she nor the BBC wish to comment on this further.

That showed Gracie was on £135,000 a year when she quit, while North America editor Jon Sopel earned £200,000 to £250,000.

Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen also earned more than Gracie, at £150,000 to £200,000.

The BBC’s disclosures revealed 12 of the top 14 paid people were men, as were two-thirds earning more than £150,000.

Amid the fallout from the row, six senior male presenters agreed to take wage cuts, including Sopel.

Gracie, who returned to the London television newsroom after resigning from her role in China, will voluntarily now take up to six months of unpaid leave to write and speak on both China and gender equality, according to the BBC.

“Carrie has made, and will continue to make, an important contribution to the BBC,” it said in a statement.

BBC seals 'agreement' with ex-China editor Carrie Gracie after equal pay row