Jimmy Savile abuse report finds culture of 'reverence and fear' towards celebrities at BBC 'still exists today'

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The latest on Dame Janet Smith's review into the BBC's 'serious failings' in Jimmy Savile case:

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Dame Janet Smith's review found there was a culture of "reverence and fear" towards celebrities at the BBC which "still exists today".
The report says girls who dared to complain about being sexually assaulted were regarded as 'a nuisance' and their claims were not properly dealt with.

Some BBC staff 'aware of inappropriate sexual conduct'

The IndependentJimmy Savile "would gratify himself sexually on BBC premises whenever the opportunity arose" and staff missed numerous opportunities to stop him, the long-awaited report into the scandal has found. Dame Janet Smith's review found there was a culture of "reverence and fear" towards celebrities at the corporation and that "an atmosphere of fear still exists today in the BBC". When a junior female employee at Television Centre complained to her supervisor that she had been sexually assaulted by Savile, she was told "keep your mouth shut, he is a VIP", the report found.
The long-awaited report also found Jimmy Savile "would gratify himself sexually on BBC premises whenever the opportunities arose".
It found Savile carried out sex attacks in "virtually every one of the BBC premises in which he worked".

Jimmy Savile report says BBC bosses knew nothing about widespread abuse

The IndependentThere is no evidence BBC bosses were aware of the widespread sexual abuse carried out by Jimmy Savile, a report has found. Dame Janet Smith's independent review of the BBC culture in the years that Savile and fellow presenter and sexual predator Stuart Hall worked there found there was a culture of “reverence and fear” towards celebrities at the corporation and that “an atmosphere of fear still exists today in the BBC”. It found that Savile carried out sex attacks in “virtually every one of the BBC premises in which he worked”.
A lawyer representing Savile's victims has described the report as "an expensive whitewash". 

Liz Dux told The Independent BBC managers would only have had to "search at the very surface and a lot of Savile's offending would have been revealed. 

She said: "All the Savile and [Stuart] Hall victims have ever wanted from this report is truth and accountability.

“Despite millions having been spent on the inquiry my clients will feel let down that the truth has still not been unearthed, and many will feel it is nothing more than an expensive whitewash.

“It is unfortunate that Dame Janet had no power to compel senior managers to give evidence, giving the impression that the whole picture of who knew what has not been revealed."

She added: "With 117 witnesses giving evidence of concerns and rumours, it’s implausible to suggest that this did not reach the upper echelons of the BBC."

Jimmy Savile's victims have reacted to Dame Janet Smith's report

The IndependentA lawyer representing the victims of Jimmy Savile has described a report into BBC responsibility for his crimes "an expensive whitewash". Dame Janet Smith's report found there was a culture of "reverence and fear" towards celebrities at the corporation, but there was no evidence BBC bosses were aware of the widespread sexual abuse carried out by Savile himself.
Dame Janet Smith's report cites 72 Savile victims (57 female and 15 male), 34 of whom were aged under 16.

It recorded six rapes of females and two of males, and 47 incidents of sexual assault.
Lord Hall, director general of the BBC, apologised to the victims of Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall.

He said: "The BBC failed you when it should have protected you. I'm deeply sorry for the hurt caused to each and every one of you."
Dame Janet Smith has denied accusations her report was a whitewash. 

She said: "It certainly isn't a whitewash. It is right that 117 witnesses told the review they had heard rumours about Jimmy Savile, as a matter of fact 180 witnesses told me that they had not.

"I did find that a number of people at the BBC, junior people, did know about Savile. They knew from what they saw or realised and drew inferences in their own minds and realised what he was doing.

"They didn't report these matters upwards."
BBC director general Tony Hall said: 

"What happened was profoundly wrong. It should never have started. It should certainly have been stopped. 

"Whatever the circumstance and background to it – and clearly these reports explain this in some considerable detail – sexual abuse is sexual abuse. It can never be excused.
 
"Whatever the issues for the BBC, they are as of nothing compared to your pain. A serial rapist and a predatory sexual abuser both hid in plain sight at the BBC for decades. It was a dark chapter in the history of the organisation, but a much darker one for all of you. 

"The BBC failed you when it should have protected you. I am deeply sorry for the hurt caused to each and every one of you."
He added that one account of a victim in particular had stuck in his mind:

"One of the survivors was told 'Keep your mouth shut, he's a VIP'.

"This hit me because it made it so very clear that we, the BBC, did that.

"Savile committed his crimes in many places but it was the BBC that made him famous.

"What this terrible episode tells us is that fame is power, a very strong form of power.

"And like all power it must be held to account, it must be challenged and it must be scrutinised, and it wasn't."

Tony Hall added: "My job now is to build on this report and ensure that this can never happen again."

Tony Blackburn: I've been 'sacked by BBC' ahead of Jimmy Savile report

The IndependentTony Blackburn has been sacked by the BBC amid allegations of a cover-up after he and other celebrities were accused of “seducing” a 15-year-old Top of the Pops dancer who later killed herself, according to the veteran DJ. A “devastated” Blackburn, who was the first DJ on Radio One in 1967, denied the claims and any involvement in the supposed cover-up in a statement published by the Daily Mirror. He said that he had “no choice” but to sue the corporation.
Lord Hall confirmed Tony Blackburn had "parted company" with the BBC, adding:

"My interpretation is that Tony Blackburn fell short of the standards of evidence that such an inquiry demanded."

Jimmy Savile report: Lord Hall's statement in full

The IndependentAn independent review has found that BBC staff members were aware of complaints against Jimmy Savile but senior management were not informed, prompting accusations of a "whitewash" by a lawyer representing the victims. The BBC Director General, Lord Hall, has issued a lengthy statement in response to the report. Here it is in full: "Good morning. I am proud to lead the BBC and I always want to think and believe the best of the organisation. But today – let us be in no doubt – we are hearing the worst. And it is a very sobering day.
Celebrity cast spell over everyone, Rantzen warns

Esther Rantzen, the founder of the charity ChildLine, said the culture of fame had "cast a spell over everyone" and children dreaming of stardom needed to actively be warned about figures like Savile.

Speaking after the release of Dame Janet Smith's report, she said: "I think we live in an age when celebrity has cast a spell over everyone.

"It's not new really, you have had demagogues, leaders, monarchs, all sorts of people who have been like magicians and I'm afraid that the media have done this to stars of reality shows, disc jockeys, all sorts of people.

"I don't know quite how you protect people from it. I would suggest that when a child says his or her ambition is to be rich and famous, somebody somewhere needs to point out that sometimes there are feet of clay, and that fame isn't a guarantee of virtue, goodness, (or) kindness.

"The tragedy that someone, somewhere appointed Jimmy Savile to present a programme (Jim'll Fix It) in which he was supposed to be humane, good, kind, (and) generous to all the children that came near - that is a terrible irony and it must not be repeated."

Rantzen said there had been an increase of calls to ChildLine since the Savile revelations, describing that as at least one "good result". She said: "I do think that survivors of abuse do feel more able to come forward, talk about what's happened to them, recognise it was not their fault, and that their disclosures will be investigated."


At the press conference earlier, Lord Hall was asked about Tony Blackburn, who was fired by the BBC this week after a dispute over the evidence he provided to the review.

The veteran DJ told the inquiry that he had never been made aware by the BBC of a complaint against him by a teenager in 1971. He strenuously denied the allegation itself and it has never been suggested since that he was guilty.

But in her inquiry report, Dame Janet said she "preferred" the evidence given by the corporation that Blackburn was in fact interviewed by BBC officials about the complaint despite his denial.

Responding to repeated questioning over Blackburn, Lord Hall said: "I'm quite clear that I am making a judgment about how someone has engaged with this seriously important inquiry.

"I am sure that all of us who have been through the 1,000 pages are probably overwhelmed by what we hear about the nature of the seriousness of what they have said and also the cultural response of the BBC.

"And that's why my decision was my decision. I'm taking a position about the standards of behaviour I expect from everyone working at the BBC now."

Dame Janet Smith's review found there was a culture of "reverence and fear" towards celebrities at the BBC, which "still exists today".

The report says girls who dared to complain about being sexually assaulted were regarded as "a nuisance". It concludes their claims were not properly dealt with.

It also found Jimmy Savile carried out sex attacks in "virtually every one of the BBC premises in which he worked" and would "would gratify himself sexually on BBC premises whenever the opportunities arose". 

The long-awaited report cites 72 Savile victims, 57 female and 15 male.

Of those, 34 were aged under 16.

It recorded six rapes of females and two of males, and 47 incidents of sexual assault.

Lord Hall, director general of the BBC, apologised to the victims of Savile and Stuart Hall.

He said: "The BBC failed you when it should have protected you. I'm deeply sorry for the hurt caused to each and every one of you."

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