Six male staffers at the BBC take salary cuts amid pay gap outcry

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Six male staffers at the BBC, including some of the network's top hosts, have agreed to take pay cuts to help remedy a gender pay gap.

Women at the publicly-funded broadcaster have been protesting the pay gap since a report last year issued by the BBC revealed that only one third of the top-paid executives were women.

In response to the outcry, Huw Edwards, Nicky Campbell, John Humphrys, Jon Sopel, Nick Robinson and Jeremy Vine will take pay cuts, the BBC said.

"These are great journalists and presenters, who have a real connection with the audience," the BBC said in a statement. "We are proud to have them working at the BBC. The final details of some of these changes are still being discussed, and there are further conversations that the BBC will have with others in due course." The BBC did not say by how much the men's salary will be reduced.

The voluntary reduction in pay comes two weeks after Carrie Gracie resigned from her position as China editor, alleging an illegal disparity of salary with her male colleagues in comparable jobs. She said she would return to the newsroom only after she was guaranteed she would be paid equally. Gracie is due to testify in front of a U.K. parliamentary committee on the issue next week. She declined to comment to CNNMoney.

A few days after Gracie's resignation earlier this month, Humphrys, one of the network's main radio hosts, and Sopel, the North America editor, were caught on a hot mic speaking disparagingly about Gracie's complaints about pay. The pair later said they were joking when they made the comments and attacked the person who leaked the audio.

Humphrys told the BBC that it was his decision to take the cut.

"It's the third [pay cut] and they have been volunteered in each case," he said.

Now their salaries are among those that will be reduced. A report published by the BBC last July exposed a major gender pay gap, revealing that just under a third of its top paid executives, managers and media stars are women. The report noted the salaries of all employees who earn more than £150,000 ($200,000) a year.

The six men taking a pay cut were among the highest paid at the company, and some of their biggest television anchors and radio hosts, according to the data published by the BBC last year. Vine's salary was listed as between £700,000 to £749,999, while Humphrys' salary was between £600,000 to £649,999.

Gracie's salary wasn't listed, which means she was earning less than £150,000 a year. Gracie said earlier this month that the 2017 report revealed that four international editors were paid unequally -- two male editors "earned at least 50% more" than their female counterparts, she said.

The director general of the BBC Tony Hall has promised to close the gender pay gap by 2020.

-- CNN's Lorenzo D'Agostino contributed to this report from London.

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