There has never been any love lost between the former controller of BBC1, Jay Hunt, and Miriam O’Reilly, the presenter she unceremoniously sacked from Countryfile because at 51 she was considered too old.
A new row has erupted after Ms Hunt once again gave evidence to an employment tribunal, this time the one hearing the case of colourful racing pundit John McCririck, 73.
Hunt, now of Channel 4, insisted she had ‘learned lessons’, havinglost the previous high-profile ageism case against O’Reilly and had ‘apologised personally’ to the broadcaster.
There is only one problem with that: Miriam states precisely the opposite.
She took to Twitter to declare: ‘Channel 4 boss Jay Hunt destroyed my career. Now she tells McCririck tribunal she learned from my case & “personally” apologised — not true.’
Farmer’s daughter Miriam tells me she was astonished when she learned that Hunt, Channel 4’s Chief Creative Officer, was claiming to have said sorry.
‘I can assure you she didn’t apologise to me — not in person, not by letter, not by email, not by text, not even by carrier pigeon. She has never personally said sorry to me.
‘I did get a personal apology from the former director general Mark Thompson.
‘He rang me on the day of the tribunal result and said he wanted to apologise personally for what had happened to me.
‘There was also a general public apology made on behalf of the BBC by Alan Yentob.
‘But from Jay Hunt there was nothing. And I find it incredible she is saying this under oath and in the context of John McCririck’s age discrimination case.’
O’Reilly, who was awarded six-figure compensation from the BBC and who now works as an ageism campaigner, tells me she has seen her nemesis only once since then.
‘Funnily enough, I literally bumped into her one afternoon in Oxford Street. It was very crowded. She was coming towards me in the opposite direction and we bumped shoulders.
‘Even then, she certainly didn’t say sorry. In fact, she didn’t even say hello. She saw it was me and just scowled — and then walked off.’
Article from Mail online