Jimmy Savile Scandal: BBC Chairman Felt 'Betrayed' by Top Executives (Report)
LONDON -- BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten has said he felt let down by top BBC executives who persuaded him to put his faith in a report that he argues painted a false picture of the public broadcaster's handling of the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal and a planned report about it.
Patten's "betrayal" at the hands of the BBC management is cited in evidence that the former British parliamentarian gave to an independent review carried out by former head of Sky News Nick Pollard into the handling of and fallout from the broadcaster's decision to drop a Newsnight report about child abuse allegations against the late TV host.
Full transcripts of the evidence hearings are due to be published Friday. However, the broadcaster’s lawyers have intervened to redact significant portions of the testimony given by witnesses, including Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman and Peter Horrocks, director of global news. Reports cited apparent concerns of defamation.
The redactions have been the subject of exchanges this week between the BBC, which, via its legal department, is itself overseeing publication of the evidence, and the BBC Trust governing body, which is seeking maximum transparency.
According to The Independent, Patten told the probe that he was unhappy about having been misinformed at a time of crisis when he was required to properly represent the organization in public.
The evidence, according to The Independent, reveals that Patten sought reassurances that a blog written by former Newsnight editor Peter Rippon was correct before he used it as the basis for public statements on the Savile scandal.
The crisis led to the resignation of BBC director general George Entwistle, an announcement during which Patten stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the outgoing executive as he explained his reasons.
The BBC admitted nearly three weeks later that the Rippon blog was “inaccurate or incomplete."
The Pollard report, published in December, concluded that the BBC’s decision to drop its Newsnight investigation into Savile was “flawed” and that it had been “completely incapable” of handling the fallout from the affair.