BBC 'turned a blind eye' to Jimmy Savile abuse, says report author

The BBC failed the victims of Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall by turning a blind eye to the abuse they suffered, BBC Trust chairman Rona Fairhead has said.

In a statement, Ms Fairhead said she is "appalled" by what happened and said everything will be done to ensure that history does not repeat itself.

"I am saddened and appalled by the events recounted here and in a few moments I want to address how we will aim to ensure we never allow them to happen again.

"But our primary thoughts must be with the victims - the survivors of the abuse perpetrated by Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall.

"Today's reports lay bare the full horror of what happened to them.

"Those experiences can never be erased.

"No-one reading the reports can be in any doubt that the BBC failed them.

"It failed not just them, but the public, its audiences and its staff.

"It turned a blind eye where it should have shone a light.

"And it did not protect those who put their trust in it.

"On behalf of the BBC and its staff past and present, I want to apologise to the survivors for all they have suffered.

"I also want to commit to them directly that we will ensure the BBC does everything it possibly can to prevent any such events in the future," she said.

Ms Fairhead said the survivors are owed an "enormous debt of gratitude" for the courage they have shown.

"Their bravery has created a vastly deeper understanding of the issues and I am confident that, from here forward, nothing will be the same.

"We believe that these reports are clear, thorough and authoritative, and I would like to express my sincere thanks to Dame Janet Smith, Dame Linda Dobbs and the review team.

"We accept the conclusions and recommendations of their reports in their entirety."

Ms Fairhead said the public's trust in the BBC needs to be restored.

"We need to demonstrate, through our actions, that the BBC's values are for everyone and non-negotiable.

"For, as Dame Janet makes clear, these events happened in the past but they raise serious issues that remain relevant and need to be addressed today.

"We fully support Dame Janet's recommendation that the BBC Executive immediately reviews its policies and procedures on child protection, complaints, whistleblowing, and investigations - and that all of those should also be independently audited and published.

"It is important that this work also takes account of the variety of working relationships people have with the BBC, from freelancers and occasional contractors through to full-time members of staff."

Concluding the trust's statement, Ms Fairhead said: "There are long-term and deep-seated issues to tackle, but today's reports provide a clear impetus to do so urgently and openly.

"To that end, the Trust will continue to pursue these questions with the DG, taking stock of his progress at each of its monthly meetings for the remainder of the year.

"These events will forever be a source of deep regret and shame. Many people were failed by those who should have protected and supported them.

"Our commitment to the survivors and to the public is to ensure we do everything possible to prevent this happening again."

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