Tim Davie is facing a rebellion as he is accused of allowing transgender network Pride to ‘watch over’ the BBC.
The BBC’s chief executive was told by staff to “shut down” Pride’s corporate networks after the co-chairman complained he wanted more influence on stories.
Mr Davie has been accused by insiders of “unbelievable naivety” for allowing the BBC Pride and BBC Studios Pride networks to thrive among hundreds of staff supporting trans activism.
The Telegraph understands that staff have raised concerns directly with its office.
The last trance that hit the broadcaster began with an exchange between Nathan Wren, co-chairman of BBC Studios Pride, and Malcolm Clark, a science producer, at the World Congress of Science and Material Producers last month.
Mr Clark says he complained that the group “supervised” the BBC’s production and suppressed the debate, prompting Mr Wren to reply: he heard.
Clark said when he pointed out that even labor unions wouldn’t want that kind of editorial influence, Wren replied, “We often ask for changes, and they don’t happen.”
Now the Telegraph may reveal that some staff members are calling for a crackdown on the group, accusing it of being “homophobic” by undermining the sanctity of the binary, immutable biological sex by promoting self-defining genders, thus undermining same-sex attraction.
“Many staff are fed up with the way BBC Pride’s influence is undermining the BBC’s reputation for impartiality – Tim Davie now needs to shut down Pride before its influence further undermines the BBC,” one source told the BBC.
The growing influence of the BBC Pride network has been blamed in part as a hangover from the BBC’s long-standing relationship with Stonewall, a controversial LGBT charity.
In a 2018 report on LGBTQ+ culture and development, the BBC praised Stonewall, and one of the ten recommendations was to “strengthen” BBC Pride.
The report was written in part by Phil Harrold, chief of staff to the chief executive and chairman, who is also “executive sponsor of the BBC Pride staff network”.
Such emboldening was evident in June 2021 when BBC Pride board minutes were leaked which showed that they were demanding “participation in committee meetings” and a role in the “editorial processes” on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
The situation escalated during a reportedly tense video call between Fran Unsworth, former director of BBC News, and the board of BBC Pride in November 2021, when the BBC dropped its diversity training at Stonewall.
BBC Pride members were “disappointed and frustrated” but Ms Unsworth told staff that “you’re going to hear things you personally don’t like… and you have to get used to it”.
Following a recent argument by BBC Studios Pride bosses who suggested they wanted more influence, a BBC insider said: “Pride believes trans women’s rights are more important than women’s rights to single-sex spaces and sports.
“The BBC’s senior leadership was incredibly naive in not understanding the political nature of gender identity activism and how it was tacked on to gay rights.
“It’s about trans, not LGB”
“People seem to think Tim is aware of the problem, but any complaint has to go through Pride sponsor Phil Harrold because he also runs Tim’s office.”
The whistleblower claimed that BBC Sport reporters were told to refer to transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard as a woman at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics as an example of the effects.
A second BBC source said: “It is intimidating how much power the Pride group has over transgender activist issues and there is no one to stop or counter them.
“Editors don’t want to do anything that might offend internal activists because they fear the inevitable quarrel and internal complaints that would follow. Even if they know they made the right editorial decision. It’s about trans people, not LGB people.”
A BBC spokesperson said: “BBC Pride is a volunteer-led staff network dedicated to supporting all LGBTQ+ staff. This is not an editorial team, has no role in directing editorial content, and like the Telegraph Group ‘Out Loud’ LGBTQ+ network, our employee networks help ensure that the BBC is an inclusive organisation.
“Editorial decisions about what the BBC broadcasts or publishes are made in accordance with our editorial values and standards, including our commitment to due impartiality.”