LONDON, England (CNN) — The BBC’s highest paid celebrity has lost more than $2 million after being suspended without pay for a series of abusive telephone calls made by himself and another of the broadcaster’s stars.
Above: Jonathan Ross (left) was suspended for 12 weeks Thursday; Russell Brand (right) resigned Wednesday.
Ross, who the UK’s Press Association reports has a £6 million ($9.7 million) contract with the broadcaster, was suspended from all broadcasting for 12 weeks Thursday after the BBC Trust, the sovereign body of the organization, met to discuss the calls.
“He (Ross) will not be paid by the BBC during this period. The fees that would have been paid will be deducted from his BBC contract,” Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC, said in a statement.
The suspension will cost Ross £1.5 million ($2.43 million). He is now believed to be in Wales with his brother Paul, a fellow broadcaster.
Thompson added: “Jonathan Ross’s contribution to this edition of the Russell Brand show was utterly unacceptable and cannot be allowed to go uncensored or without sanction.”
Earlier Thursday, Lesley Douglas, Controller of BBC Radio 2, 6 Music and Popular Music, stood down from her role and offered a “personal apology to Sachs and his family and to the audience for what has happened,” the BBC said.
The prank calls row has also claimed the scalp of Brand, who resigned Wednesday.
Ross and Brand rang Sachs — who played a Spanish waiter in John Cleese’s 1970s TV comedy “Fawlty Towers” — but when it dawned on them that he was not around, they left a series of messages on the veteran actor’s phone, joking about Brand’s sexual relationship with Sachs’ granddaughter Georgina Baillie, 23.