TV’s Trisha Goddard caused an awkward moment live on air as she quizzed Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid about whether she was paid the same as colleague Piers Morgan.
Her comments came a day after the BBC revealed figures that showed its highest paid male staff member (Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans) earned a salary at least four times greater than the highest paid female (Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia Winkleman).
— GMB Daily (@GMBDaily) July 20, 2017
Reid, who left the BBC for ITV more than three years ago, hesitated before saying she did not know if there was a difference in pay.
She pointed out on the Thursday morning show that BBC sports presenter Clare Balding was listed as earning less than a tenth of Gary Lineker’s £1,800,000 maximum pay packet.
Goddard said with a smile: “Well, I’m guessing that you and Piers Morgan probably earn the same?”
There are strong calls for the #BBC’s highest paid stars to have their salaries cut. Any thoughts?— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) July 20, 2017
“I wouldn’t know,” Reid responded. “We don’t have the same obligation of transparency.”
Goddard then explained that, while the BBC is a publicly funded body, she believed that the gender pay gap exists across the industry as a whole as part of the wider ongoing issue of diversity in the media.
But while the comment was brushed off on the screen, viewers were divided, with one describing Goddard’s comments as “rude,” while another said it was “good common sense”.
I found it rather rude for Trisha Goddard to question Suzanna on her pay gap with Piers Morgan— myles o'hagan (@OhaganMyles) July 20, 2017
Morgan had come under criticism for sharing the numbers from the BBC’s report earlier on Wednesday morning, breaking an 11am embargo set by the broadcaster.
Defending the move on Twitter, he wrote: “I’d like to apologise to all fellow journalists I scooped on BBC salary story. I can’t help being this good at my job, unfortunately.”