Hundreds of staff testify to abusive culture at BBC


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The Independent Online

More than 850 BBC employees have come forward to raise their concerns about bullying and sexual harassment at the corporation, fueling fears about the broadcaster’s culture.

A “staggering” number of staff members have contacted private consultants brought in by the BBC in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal. Their feedback has been shared with Dinah Rose, QC, the barrister brought in to investigate the internal culture of the BBC.

In an email to staff, the BBC’s director of human resources Lucy Adams told colleagues that some of the testimony is “uncomfortable to hear”.

She said one-to-one sessions have taken place between BBC staff members and an outside company, Change Associates. Staff were also asked to detail their experiences and views in telephone conversations, emails and letters with the promise that their anonymity would be respected.

“Over 850 of you got in touch one way or another and gave your thoughts on respect, behaviour and culture at the BBC today, including issues such as harassment (including sexual harassment) and bullying,” wrote Adams.

One member of the BBC’s staff described the scale of the response as “staggering”. They told The Independent: “These are people with real stories and details of harassment and bullying who are living with the scars of an abusive management culture.”

Although some respondents are merely interested in discussing sexual harassment and bullying in the work place, many regard themselves as victims and some of the allegations are understood to be deeply disturbing.

“We have recognised the need to take a serious and thorough look at the issues of sexual harassment and bullying,” said a BBC spokesperson. “We will be publishing our Respect at Work report prepared with the assistance of Dinah Rose, QC, and also our review of the BBC child protection and whistle-blowing policies in the spring.”