The BBC's China editor Carrie Gracie who has made frequent appearances on BBC World News (DStv 400 / StarSat 256 / OVHD 112 / Cell C black 501) in her more than 30 year BBC career has quit her foreign bureau post, slamming the BBC over its pay disparity of paying women less than their male counterparts and saying the BBC has a "secretive and illegal pay culture".
Carrie Gracie exited the BBC last week as BBC editor for China in the BBC's Beijing news bureau and said she will return to her previous position in the BBC News newsroom "where I expect to be paid equally".
Carrie Gracie, in a post on her blog on Sunday, said that "I believe you have a right to know that the BBC is breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure."
In July last year, the BBC was forced to reveal the salaries of all employees earning more than £150,000 a year.
Carrie Gracie says she discovered that the BBC's two male international editors "earned "at least 50% more" than its two female counterparts.
The BBC's United States editor Jon Sopel earned £200 000 to £249 999, while the BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen earned £150 000 to £199 999.
Carrie Gracie earned less than £150 000.
Carrie Gracie says she's leaving her post as BBC editor of China "to speak out publicly on a crisis of trust at the BBC".
"On pay, the BBC is not living up to its stated values of trust, honesty and accountability," says Carrie Gracie.
"Many have since sought pay equality through internal negotiation but managers still deny there is a problem. This bunker mentality is likely to end in a disastrous legal defeat for the BBC and an exodus of female talent at every level."
"Mine is just one story of inequality among many, but I hope it will help you understand why I feel obliged to speak out."
"Up to two hundred BBC women have made pay complaints only to be told repeatedly there is no pay discrimination at the BBC. Can we all be wrong? I no longer trust our management to give an honest answer," says Carrie Gracie.
"Speaking out carries the risk of disciplinary measures or even dismissal; litigation can destroy careers and be financially ruinous. What's more the BBC often settles cases out of court and demands non-disclosure agreements, a habit unworthy of an organisation committed to truth, and one which does nothing to resolve the systemic problem," says Carrie Gracie.
The BBC media editor Amol Rajan said Carrie Gracie's resignation was a "big, big headache" for the corporation.
The BBC's Europe editor Katya Adler said Carrie Gracie's resignation is a "huge loss to BBC international news".
Meanwhile BBC Women, a group of more than 130 journalists and producers at the BBC in a statement says "it is hugely regrettable that an outstanding and award-winning journalist like Carrie Gracie feels she has no option but to resign from her post as China editor because the BBC has not valued her equally with her male counterparts".
"We wholeheartedly support her and call on the BBC to resolve her case and others without delay, and to urgently address pay inequality across the corporation".