Savile report shows BBC staff missed chances to stop abuse
Dame Janet Smith’s report finds no evidence that BBC as corporate body knew of abuse
Jimmy Savile “would gratify himself sexually on BBC premises whenever the opportunity arose” and staff missed numerous opportunities to stop him, the long-awaited report into the scandal has found.
Dame Janet Smith’s review found there was a culture of “reverence and fear” towards celebrities at the corporation and that “an atmosphere of fear still exists today in the BBC”.
When a junior female employee at Television Centre complained to her supervisor that she had been sexually assaulted by Savile, she was told “keep your mouth shut, he is a VIP”, the report found.
Dame Janet said girls who dared to complain about being sexually assaulted were regarded as “a nuisance” and their claims not properly dealt with.
BBC staff missed a string of opportunities dating back to the late 1960s to stop Savile, who died in October 2011 aged 84 never having been brought to justice for his crimes and is now believed to be one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders.
Dame Janet found that a number of BBC staff were aware of Savile’s offending, but she cleared the broadcaster as a corporate body of knowing about it.
Her report states: “In summary, my conclusion is that certain junior and middle-ranking individuals were aware of Savile’s inappropriate sexual conduct in connection with his work for the BBC.
“However, I have found no evidence that the BBC, as a corporate body, was aware of Savile’s inappropriate sexual conduct in connection with his work for the BBC.”
The report came as veteran DJ Tony Blackburn accused the BBC of making him a “scapegoat” after he was sacked on the eve of its publication.
Blackburn (73) said “all relationships” he had with the BBC were “terminated with immediate effect” this week because his evidence to Dame Janet’s review concerning an investigation in 1971 contradicted the BBC’s own version of events.
He has pledged to take legal action against the corporation which he claims is making him a “scapegoat” for the “cover-up” of abuse.