Jeremy Vine has revealed that he chose to take a pay cut after discovering his female colleagues at the BBC were paid significantly less than him.
The Radio 2 host said he was “appalled” when the gap between his salary and that of his colleagues Claudia Winkleman and Emily Maitlis was revealed in July 2017.
Vine’s salary ranged from £700,000-£749,000, while Winkelman earned less than £500,000 and Maitlis made less than £150,000.
Maitlis has presented Newsnight since 2006 and later said she went “on strike” until the BBC fixed the pay gap. She now earns between £200,000-£264,999.
“I should say I really was appalled at the disparity with my female colleagues, because I did not know anything about that”, Vine told the Mail on Sunday.
He clarified that his earnings in 2016/17 covered five presenting jobs, including Radio 2, Points of View, Panorama, Eggheads and the BBC’s election coverage.
“That’s quite a lot of work. Each of those was negotiated separately and this was the first time anyone had added them all up“, he said.
“It’s not like a salary. You’re paid for these jobs and if you don’t do them, you’re not paid. But to see it was a painful thing”.
The presenter then decided to take a pay cut, meaning he now makes between £290,000-£294,000, but he makes a separate salary from his Channel 5 chat show.
“No-one said, ‘You have to take it.’ I just wanted to take one. My contract was coming up. They clearly wanted me to take one. I can’t remember who raised it first”, he revealed.
Despite the fact there are three women in the top 10 highest paid presenters – Zoe Ball, Claudia Winkelman and Vanessa Feltz – there’s more work to be done.
Vine said he would leave it to his fellow colleagues to assess the BBC’s progress towards gender equality.
“My female colleagues have got together a very powerful WhatsApp group and they’re campaigning, led by Jane Garvey and one or two others, so I’m just following that lead“, he said. “If they were to say it’s sorted, I would believe it’s sorted. They haven’t said that yet”.