After being forced today to publish the names and salaries of its top-earning actors and presenters, the publicly funded British broadcaster BBC has come under fire over gender pay disparity, the AP reports.
“The list shows that the BBC pays 96 on-air personalities at least 150,000 pounds ($195,000) a year — meaning most earn more than the prime minister, who gets 150,000 pounds,” the report notes. “The broadcaster’s best-paid star, radio host Chris Evans, earns more than 2.2 million pounds ($2.9 million).”
The salaries were previously kept secret, but the broadcaster was compelled by the British government to release the information, the report notes.
The list of top earners is dominated by men, with the highest-ranking woman, Claudia Winkleman, who hosts “Strictly Come Dancing,” coming in at a tie for the No. 8 spot with a salary of $585,000.
“The highest earners are also largely white,” the AP adds. “No ethnic-minority star is paid more than 300,000 pounds a year.”
BBC chief Tony Hall defended the salaries, but conceded that the list reveals “the need to go further and faster on issues of gender and diversity.”
Hall added: “The BBC does not exist in a market on its own where it can set the market rates. If we are to give the public what they want, then we have to pay for those great presenters and stars.”
Here’s a list of the top 10, based on media reports, with their minimum salaries translated into U.S. dollars:
Chris Evans, $2.9 million
Gary Lineker, $2.3 million
Graham Norton, $1.1 million
Jeremy Vine, $910,000
John Humphrys, $780,000
Huw Edwards, $715,000
Steve Wright, $650,000
Matt Baker, $585,000
Claudia Winkleman, $585,000
Nicky Campbell, $520,000