BBC official sacked over gay harassment

BBC official sacked over gay harassment

Jonathan Steer, 42, who worked on the "News at Ten" and "Newsnight" programmes, bombarded his colleague - known only as Andrew - with emails and late-night phone calls referring to their "sexual chemistry", an employment tribunal has heard.

Steer, however, claimed he could not recall sending the emails as he had bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder involves periods of elevated or irritable mood, alternating with periods of depression.

Steer said the BBC has failed in its duty to take care of him, the Daily Mail reported.
He had met Andrew in the political programmes department at Westminster, where he worked as a news picture editor, the hearing was told.

Andrew began receiving the "unwanted attention" in December 2008, after he accepted a dinner invitation.

Andrew told the hearing Steer insisted on paying for dinner - and then reportedly told colleagues something had happened between them.

Steer later sent him a link to a Facebook quiz entitled: "How good are you at gay sex?" He also made suggestive phone calls to his mobile late at night, the hearing was told.

Over the next seven months, Andrew received messages from two aliases - Sir Richard Lionheart and Scott Bainbridge. Steer admitted he sent the messages.

One email from Scott Bainbridge, claiming to be Steer's best friend, said Steer was "quite taken" by Andrew. If the feelings were not reciprocated, Steer should be "let down gently", it said.

Steer also reportedly sent Andrew's parents a letter referring to an HIV test.
In July 2009, Andrew reported Steer to officials.

At a disciplinary meeting, Steer admitted "Lionheart" and "Bainbridge" were his creations but claimed his bipolar condition meant he sometimes did things he could not later recall.
He was given a written warning and allowed to return to work. But he continued to send Andrew emails in April 2010.

In November 2010, Steer was dismissed.