BBC ‘may have missed chances to explore concerns’ about Tim Westwood

BBC ‘may have missed chances to explore concerns’ about Tim Westwood

Internal review finds corporation received several reports in 2012 about alleged misconduct of former Radio 1 DJ

Tim Westwood

The BBC may have missed chances to explore concerns raised over the conduct of the former Radio 1 DJ Tim Westwood, an internal review has concluded.

It found that the corporation received several reports about Westwood in 2012, including two allegations of inappropriate behaviour and sexual misconduct, and an accusation that the radio presenter “created a toxic atmosphere amongst those he worked with at the BBC”.

It comes after the BBC director general, Tim Davie, initially said there was “no evidence of complaints” against Westwood, who worked at the corporation from 1994 to 2013. Davie was director of audio and music from 2008 to 2012, including having responsibility for its radio stations, before doing a brief first stint as the acting director general in 2012-13.

The internal report follows an investigation by the Guardian and BBC News which published allegations of sexual misconduct and predatory behaviour made by several women against Westwood, 64. He denied all the allegations, with a spokesperson saying they were “completely false” and there had never been any complaints against him “officially or unofficially”.

The BBC said it had now appointed an independent barrister, Gemma White QC, to lead a broader review to “fully examine” what was known about concerns regarding Westwood’s conduct during his 19-year career at the corporation.

The BBC board’s senior independent director, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “In light of the BBC’s internal review, I believe that there may have been occasions in the past when the BBC should have further explored issues that were being raised.

“It now appears there are allegations against Tim Westwood dating to before, during and after his employment with the BBC and also elsewhere. The BBC is willing to work with any other employers in order to fully establish what happened.”

The corporation said it was in contact with the Metropolitan police and that appropriate information would be passed to them. It comes as the Met is understood to be investigating four reports of alleged sexual offences against Westwood, two of which date back to the 1980s, and the other two in 2010 and 2016.

Westwood stepped down from his show on Capital Xtra in April after seven women accused him of sexual misconduct and predatory behaviour in the joint Guardian/BBC News investigation.

Ten more women made claims of sexual abuse, sexual misconduct and inappropriate behaviour in a further joint investigation in July. The report included a claim from a woman who said Westwood first had sex with her when she was 14 and he was in his 30s, in the early 1990s.

The BBC admitted in July that it had received six complaints of alleged bullying and sexual misconduct relating to when the DJ was an employee, some of them received after publication of the first Guardian/BBC News stories.

In its review published on Thursday, the BBC said it received two reports of sexual misconduct against Westwood in 2012, which were included in logs set up to record allegations in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

One was an allegation made in October 2012 that Westwood had made inappropriate sexual remarks to a 15-year-old girl at a non-BBC event in 2007, which was passed to the police. The report said: “The person did not wish to provide the details of the witness, but confirmed that they were willing to speak to the police. This allegation was passed to the police in October 2012, who in May 2013 indicated they would take no further action in relation to it.”

The other report related to a press inquiry by a newspaper seeking comment from the BBC in November 2012 about a rumour of sexual misconduct against Westwood.

The review also found that two sets of internal complaints were made about Westwood’s behaviour, with one set complaining in 2011 and 2012 about the DJ’s alleged use of sexualised and inappropriate comments while on air.

Of a further report, the review added: “There was also an allegation in 2012 that Tim Westwood had created a toxic atmosphere amongst those he worked with at the BBC. A member of BBC staff recalls speaking to Tim Westwood about this at this time and that Tim Westwood denied all of the allegations made.”

The review found that further complaints were made about Westwood after the Guardian/BBC News investigation in April. It said these included a report from a BBC staff member who alleged Westwood had sexually assaulted a woman at a BBC-linked event in the mid-2000s. The person recalled reporting the matter at the time to someone at the BBC but they could not remember who or the precise year.

The BBC said it also received reports from two women alleging sexual assault by Westwood in the 1980s before his employment at the BBC. A third woman described a consensual sexual encounter with Westwood in the mid-2000s at a non-BBC event, which she now considers to have been inappropriate.

The BBC also noted that there were complaints made by the public in the past concerning the content of some of Westwood’s programmes, but said these did not form part of the internal review.

White, supported by the law firm Linklaters, will aim to complete her investigation in six months. The BBC has said it is willing to work with Westwood’s other employers, which include MTV and Capital Xtra’s owner, Global, to fully establish what happened.

Westwood denied all the allegations in the original investigation, with a spokesperson for him saying there had never been any complaints against him “officially or unofficially”. He did not respond to the allegations when contacted during the second investigation. He was approached for comment on Thursday.