BBC director-general Tony Hall has described the sexual abuse by broadcaster Jimmy Savile as a “dark chapter” in the corporation’s history.
He vowed that the review into its culture would be “invaluable” in helping to ensure such incidents never happen again.
A leaked draft report of the review by Janet Smith condemns the BBC over its “deferential culture” and “untouchable stars”, and criticises it for having managers who were “above the law”.
It also warns that it was possible another “predatory child abuser could be lurking undiscovered in the BBC even today”.
Rapes, indecent assaults on both boys and girls, and incidents of “inappropriate sexual conduct” with teenagers over the age of 16 were all “in some way associated with the BBC”, the draft report states, adding that three of Savile’s victims were only nine.
Incidents occurred at “virtually every one of the BBC premises” in which Savile worked, the report said, and more than 100 employees at the corporation told the review they had heard about Savile’s sexual conduct.
Commenting after the leaked report, Tony Hall said: “Firstly, my thoughts and all our thoughts are with the victims of Jimmy Savile and their families. What happened was a dark chapter in the history of the BBC.
“Janet Smith’s report will be invaluable in helping us understand what happened and to help ensure that we do everything possible to avoid it happening again.
“The review has said that the copy leaked to the media is an early draft which has changed considerably, so, while I am impatient to learn those lessons, the responsible thing must be to act on the final report, which we have not received.”
Savile was found to have carried out four rapes — two of girls under 16 — and one attempted rape, which were among 61 incidents of sexual assault.
Abuse took place on the sets of Top Of The Pops and Jim’ll Fix It, at least once on camera, as well as in corridors, kitchens, canteens, and dressing rooms at the BBC Television Theatre, Television Centre and Broadcasting House, where he worked for Radio 1 Incidents also occurred at Lime Grove in London and BBC properties in Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow.
While staff said they were aware of his sexual behaviour, they were scared to report it to managers, the draft report, published by news website Exaro, states.
Investigations were “wholly inadequate”, and the BBC was criticised for failing to properly examine his personality, despite rumours about him and that he worked with children.
However, retired judge Smith accepted denials from senior bosses they knew of his sexual activity, and she does not criticise the BBC for not discovering the abuse.
She does, though, say: “My general impression is that most staff (other than those... in higher echelons) felt that the management culture was too deferential and and that some executives were ‘above the law’.”
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