Former BBC Boss Expresses 'Shock and Sadness' About Abuse Scandal

Mark Thompson - Portrait Outside - H - 2011
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"I had heard none of the stories about Jimmy Savile," designated New York Times Co. CEO Mark Thompson reiterates about his time at the U.K. public broadcaster.


LONDON - Former BBC director general Mark Thompson late Monday reiterated that during his tenure he was not aware of any wrongdoing by former Top of the Pops host Jimmy Savile at the U.K. public broadcaster.

The designated new CEO of the New York Times Co. also reiterated previous comments that he had nothing to do with a decision by BBC news program Newsnight to drop an investigation into the former TV and radio host late last year.

"Like many other people at the BBC and despite what you may have read, I had heard none of the stories about Jimmy Savile," he said Monday after a guest lecture that he gave at Oxford University, the Guardian reported.

London police and an internal BBC probe are looking at a slew of claims that Savile and others sexually abused mostly young women decades ago.

Thompson on Monday expressed his "shock and sadness...that these things have happened and have happened inside the BBC."

Critics have argued that Thompson as the BBC's top executive should have known about the Savile scandal and the dropped Newsnight report.

He is set to start his tenure at the New York Times Co. next week, with the company recently backing him and saying it was content with his comments about his lack of knowledge about the Savile affair.

"I was not notified or briefed about the Newsnight investigation, nor was I involved in any way in the decision not to complete and air the investigation," Thompson had previously said.

Thompson this week is giving a total of three lectures as a visiting professor in rhetoric and the art of public persuasion at Oxford University. According to the Guardian, the title of his first lecture was "The Cloud of Unknowing." BBC chairman Lord Patten was among the audience members.

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