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LONDON — Disgraced Sky Sports anchor Richard Keys has resigned with immediate effect, after a turbulent day spent trying to apologize for a series of sexual harassment incidents.
Keys took to the media Tuesday, telling journalists he “apologized unreservedly” for the firestorm he had created and any offence he had caused.
But his on-air apology on Talksport radio turned into a veiled attack on his employer, the News Corp-backed satcaster BSkyB, claiming “dark forces” had been behind releasing footage that could only have come from within Sky Sports.
He also blamed Sky bosses from preventing him from making a public apology earlier.
Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said that the manner of Keys’ departure was unfortunate.
“It is disappointing that Richard’s career at Sky should end in these circumstances,” he said. “However, Richard recognizes that his comments at the weekend were unacceptable and we note that he has made a full and public apology. We thank him for his time in helping make Sky Sports the success it is today.”
Keys apologized once again for a string of lewd comments made in off-air recordings that found their way onto YouTube.
“I am deeply sorry for my remarks and the offence they have caused; it was wrong and should not have happened. I have thought long and hard and reached the decision that it is time to move on.”
Earlier today video emerged of Keys seated alongside former Premier League soccer players Ruud Gullit, Graeme Souness and Jamie Redknapp, in an off air moment. Keys is heard discussing one of Redknapp’s former girlfriends, describing the woman repeatedly as “it.” Keys asks Redknapp if he “smashed it” and goes on to say: “Mind you, that’s a stupid question, if you were anywhere near it, you definitely smashed it. You could have gone round there any night and found Redknapp hanging out the back of it,” he is seen saying.
Keys’ departure comes a day after his co-anchor, Andy Gray, was dismissed for a similar misdemeanor.
The questions asked about the culture at Sky which comes on the eve of BSkyB’s half-year results and crown a week that has seen Rupert Murdoch‘s British businesses hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
A police investigation into The News of The World is looking at allegations that thousands of phones were illegally hacked into, potentially bringing a string of criminal cases against staff on the paper, as news editor Ian Edmondson was summarily dismissed.
The negative headlines come as Rupert Murdoch has opted to stay in London and personally handle News Corp’s ever more controversial bid to acquire BSkyB outright.
Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has to decide on whether to allow News Corp. to become the most powerful media group in the U.K. would have a negative impact on the U.K. media market.
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