BBC Newsnight worker ‘sacked over gay harassment’

 

A senior BBC editor who worked on News at Ten and Newsnight subjected a colleague to a campaign of homosexual harassment, a tribunal has heard.

Jonathan Steer: BBC Newsnight worker 'sacked over gay harassment'

Jonathan Steer was sacked for harassment towards a colleague, the tribunal heard.

The victim, named only as Andrew, was a news organiser in the corporation’s political programmes department when he began receiving unwanted attention from Jonathan Steer, it was claimed.

Mr Steer, a picture editor who worked alongside senior staff John Simpson and Nick Robinson, claims his behaviour was a "cry for help".

The Central London Employment Tribunal heard that after Andrew, which is not his real name, was invited to dinner with Mr Steer, he was bombarded with messages discussing their "sexual chemistry".

The victim, who is now a senior broadcast journalist, also received dozens of phone calls in the middle of the night.

The victim’s former partner was sent messages from Mr Steer, 42, which included a link posted on Facebook, the social networking site, that asked "how good are you at gay sex?".

Read the full story  Telegraph

Mr Steer, who was based in the corporation’s Westminster office in Millbank, sent the messages under pseudonyms including "Lionheart".

The tribunal was told they had left his victim terrified he would turn up at his home late at night.

Mr Steer, who began work for the BBC in 1996, also allegedly sent a letter to Andrew’s elderly parents in which he refers to an HIV test.

Mr Steer, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was subsequently dismissed from his role and is now claiming disability discrimination and unfair dismissal.

The tribunal was told that the harassment began after the dinner in December 2008.

In his witness statement, Andrew said Mr Steer insisted on paying for dinner, kissed him on the cheek to say goodbye and then implied to colleagues that the pair had become intimate.

Mr Steer sent threatening message including one through a Facebook alias called Sir Richard Lionheart warning that "if I was you I would try to rebuild bridges pretty rapidly for your sake, but I feel it may be too late."

It was signed "A friend".

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