BBC presenters’ six-figure salaries have been published, exposing a stark gender pay gap, with the top-earning woman on £1.5 million less than the highest-paid man.
The top seven BBC earners were all white men. Chris Evans, former Top Gear presenter and Radio 2 host, topped the list, earning between £2.2 million and £2.25 million (US$2.87 million and US$2.93 million) in 2016/2017.
Match of the Day’s Gary Lineker earned between £1.75 million and £1.8 million, chat show host Graham Norton made more than £850,000, and news presenter Jeremy Vine earned up to £750,000.
The revelations came as the BBC published for the first time the salaries of its staff who were paid more than £150,000 in the last financial year. The broadcaster fought against the list being published, but was forced by the government as part of its new 11-year royal charter.
The data showed that 214 employees, both on and off-air, fall into this wage bracket.
The list reveals a major gender imbalance among the BBC’s top earners. Only a third of the 96 highest-paid are female.
Claudia Winkleman, who presents Strictly Come Dancing, is the BBC’s highest-paid female celebrity, earning between £450,000 and £500,000. That means the highest-paid male on-air star is paid between four and five times the amount of his nearest-earning female counterparts.
Alex Jones, presenter of the One Show, is listed as earning more than £400,000.
Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC’s political editor, earned between £200,000 and £249,999 – less than the host of Radio 4’s PM show, Eddie Mair, who earned between £300,000 and £349,999.
There are also some high-profile female absentees from the list. Emily Maitlis, the newsreader, Sarah Montague, the presenter of the Today program on Radio 4, and Louise Minchin, who presents BBC Breakfast, do not earn more than £150,000 a year, according to the disclosure.
In contrast, Huw Edwards, who presents the news, earned between £550,000 and £599,999. John Humphrys, who presents Today and Mastermind, collected up to £649,999, and Dan Walker, who presented Breakfast, Football Focus and Olympic coverage in 2016, was paid £200,000 to £249,999.
Of the 20 highest-paid on-air stars, none are of black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) descent.
The highest paid BAME on-air stars are DJ Trevor Nelson, newsreader George Alagiah, and Radio Wales presenter Jason Mohammed. All three earn between £250,000 and £299,999.
This means the highest-paid on-air star earns seven times the amount of the highest-paid on-air BAME stars.
The BBC has come under fire for the lack of diversity among its highest-paid on-air staff.
BBC Director Tony Hall defended the gender and diversity pay gaps within the corporation, insisting that it is “more diverse than the broadcasting industry and civil service” in general.
He acknowledged, however, there is “more to do.”