The BBC is under fire yet again after it emerged June Sarpong, the broadcaster’s diversity Tsar, is pocketing more than a quarter of a million pounds a year and only works three days a week.
The revelation comes at a critical period. The corporation faces a funding crunch due to more and more members of the public ceasing to pay their licence fee and a constant barrage of criticism for prioritising woke programming.
At £1,700 a day, former Channel 4 presenter, Sarpong is paid more pro rata than the BBC’s director-general, who earns £429,000 a year. Sarpong’s annual salary at £267,000, adjusted to five days a week comes to £445,000.
Sarpong came to prominence as a presenter on teen entertainment show, T4, although she was never far from politics having dated equality and EU campaigning Labour MP David Lammy around this time.
Sarpong has since become a pivotal figure in the growing woke industry, churning out books about equality, diversity and racism. Last year she published The Power Of Privilege: How White People Can Challenge Racism.
In a recent interview, she said: “There is unfairness baked into our system… I don’t for a single second say that all white people are privileged. Of course not. But there are benefits even if you come from a low income and you’re white. You’re never judged on your race.”
Sarpong currently presides over a £100m budget to boost ethnic diversity at the Beeb having been the first appointed to the role of creative diversity director in 2019. She currently mixes her BBC responsibilities with speaking gigs, her publishing deals and ambassadorial roles. Sarpong currently sits on the board of fashion label Burberry in a diversity capacity. She was made an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list for services to broadcasting.
Since the Daily Mail revealed the details last night, Twitter has blown up with angry comments directed at the BBC for lavishing Sarpong with so much cash.
Former Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie blasted: “Appalled to learn ex-TV presenter June Sarpong, 44, is paid £267K a year for a 3-day week as the BBC’s diversity champion. Leaves her free to earn more from book deals, corporate work and more diversity on the board of Burberry. She makes £106K more than the PM. #DefundTheBBC.”
Former Tory leader and Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith said: “How can anyone be worth paying £267,000 for working three days a week? Once again the BBC has scored an own goal. There must be thousands of perfectly qualified people who would do this job for less.”
Chairman of the Tories’ Common Sense Group, Sir John Hayes said: “It’s clear that the BBC’s preoccupation with every kind of woke cause has encouraged them to pay an excessive salary to a woman for working three days a week.
“Maybe it would be better off spending money on the priorities of the people who listen to and watch the BBC, not on the prejudices of the liberal bourgeois that run it.”
A BBC spokesperson defended the exorbitant salary: “Audiences from all backgrounds and communities must see themselves represented in our programmes. This is an absolute priority for the BBC.
“June is delivering the BBC’s first creative diversity strategy and has overseen our most significant financial investment in diverse content on and off air.
“She brings extensive experience and knowledge to the BBC Executive Committee in an area we are committed to improving.
“More broadly on pay, our recent annual report shows that the BBC has reduced senior leader numbers by five per cent and top talent pay is down ten per cent on last year.”