BBC apologises to family after sexual harassment 'suicide'

Corporation will set up a confidential helpline for workers worried about harassment

Media Editor

The BBC has apologised “unreservedly” to the family of one of its journalists, who is believed to have taken his own life after his complaints of sexual harassment were ignored.

The Corporation admitted that it failed to help Russell Joslin and its treatment of him was “just not good enough”.

The 50-year-old, who was suffering from work-related stress,  apparently suffocated himself in a  psychiatric hospital in Warwick last October. Three days earlier he had walked in front of a bus in Kenilworth, receiving minor injuries. Mr Joslin’s family said the BBC “could have and should have done more” to help him.

“It is possible Russell might still be alive if the BBC system had proactively handled his complaints with more competence, openness and humanity,” said his brother-in-law, Dan Barnard.

Yesterday, the BBC released an internal report into its handling of Mr Joslin’s allegations of sexual harassment by a female colleague and said it had set up an anti-bullying helpline.

The document, written by a former BBC human resources executive, Lesley Granger, was published on the eve of today’s strike by BBC staff over bullying, harassment, excessive workloads and compulsory redundancies. The broadcaster is cutting 2,000 jobs as part of its “Delivering Quality First” plan. The 12-hour walkout by members of the National Union of Journalists and the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) is expected to disrupt TV and radio schedules. Ms Granger’s report into Mr Joslin’s death comes as the BBC conducts a major probe, led by barrister Dinah Rose, into bullying and sexual harassment. The inquiry, ordered after the Jimmy Savile scandal, has already received multiple allegations against staff. One senior executive is the subject of more than 20 bullying claims, being treated as a special category by the Rose review.

Mr Joslin, a reporter at BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, complained on six occasions that he was being victimised and sexually harassed by a senior colleague. Last year, his father Peter Joslin, former chief constable of Warwickshire Police, urged  the BBC to open an inquiry into his son’s death, complaining that there had been “plenty of opportunities” for managers to intervene but “nothing had been done to help him”.

Last night, the BBC said it was “determined to learn lessons” from the case. “Disappointingly, the report refers to behaviour which falls below the high standards we expect of all those who work for the BBC,” it added.

The Corporation will set up a confidential helpline for workers who are worried about harassment or bullying but do not feel able to raise their concerns with managers or human resources staff. The helpline will be run by an independent body.

Meanwhile, it emerged last night that an employee of the BBC’s investigative programme Panorama has been suspended after accusations that a producer attempted to bribe a security consultant for information.

The programme, which was due to air on Monday, has been postponed. The Corporation said it was “reviewing the facts”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager (EMEA) - City, London

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine