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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Jimmy Savile: 'Deferential culture' at BBC condemned in leaked report on disgraced star


Draft report produced during official review of DJ's time at BBC criticises corporation for having managers who were 'above the law'

Dame Janet Smith is reviewing the BBC's practices at the time of the Jimmy Savile scandal
Dame Janet Smith is reviewing the BBC's practices at the time of the Jimmy Savile scandal Photo: Rex/Ross Parry
Lucy Clarke Billings
By Lucy Clarke-Billings
10:09AM GMT 21 Jan 2016

The BBC is condemned for having a "deferential culture" and "untouchable stars" in a leaked draft of a report into sexual abuse by broadcaster Jimmy Savile.

The draft report, produced during an official review of Savile's time at the BBC by retired judge Dame Janet Smith, criticizes the corporation 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".

"I know of at least two young girls [both underage] who were invited back to Savile’s dressing room, where he abused them sexually,"
Witness

Rapes, indecent assaults on both boys and girls, and incidents of "inappropriate sexual conduct" with teenagers over 16 were all "in some way associated with the BBC", the draft report states. Three of Savile's victims were only nine, it adds.

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.

While staff said they were aware of his behavior, they were scared to report it to managers, the draft report, published by news website Exaro states.

But Dame Janet accepted denials from senior bosses that they were aware of his sexual activity, according to the leaked document.

And she does not criticize the BBC for not uncovering the abuse, according to the report.

Child abuse reports have soared since the scandal of the BBC's Jimmy Savile

Jimmy Savile was revealed as a child abuser after his death  Photo: REX FEATURES

Liz Dux, a specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon, which represents 168 alleged Savile victims - many of whom where assaulted at the BBC - said: "It is deeply disturbing that this inquiry appears to have concluded the same culture which allowed Savile to commit his appalling offences with impunity still persists today.

"That little has been done at the BBC to prevent another predatory abuser using their celebrity and influence to target the young and vulnerable is of grave concern.

"I find it incredible that 107 people gave evidence to having heard rumours of his depravity and inappropriate sexual behaviour yet no one in a position of authority seemed to be aware.

"A predatory child abuser could be lurking undiscovered in the BBC even today,"
Smith Review

"Now, more than ever before, mandatory reporting legislation needs to be brought in to make it a crime to turn a blind eye to this sort of offending.

"It also has to be said that Savile's victims who gave evidence to this inquiry will find it upsetting that a report of this nature and sensitivity has been leaked in this way."

A statement on the Dame Janet's review website expressed disappointment at the leak of the draft but said it was out of date.

According to Exaro, Dame Janet says in the report: "My general impression is that most staff (other than those who had been in the higher echelons) felt that the management culture was too deferential and and that some executives were 'above the law'."

The BBC's "talent" was held in "awe" by most staff, who treated them "deferentially", she said, adding: "It would be a brave person indeed who would make a complaint against such a person."
The draft report also outlined the extent of Savile's sexual activities, which it said "took place in virtually every one of the BBC premises at which he worked."

The locations included the BBC Television Theatre, while on set for Jim'll Fix It, Television Centre in connection with Top of the Pops, and Broadcasting House, where he worked for Radio 1.


Incidents also took place at the Lime Grove studios in London and BBC properties in Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow.

Dame Janet states: "He would indulge in sexual touching while working on the set (of Top Of The Pops or Jim'll Fix It) and on at least one occasion, he was actually on camera.
"Savile would seize the opportunity for sexual contact even in public places such as corridors, staircases and canteens."

Commenting on the leak, a statement on the Dame Janet Smith Review website said: "The Review is disappointed by the decision of Exaro to publish, in breach of confidence, extracts from a leaked copy of an early draft of its Report.

"That document is out of date and significant changes have been made to its contents and conclusions. The document should not have been made public and cannot be relied upon in any circumstances.

"The Review will work with the BBC to arrange publication of its final Report as quickly as possible to ensure that accurate and responsible reporting can take place."
The leaked draft was published a day after the review announced that the long-delayed final report would be published within six weeks.


It said this was because "the Review has been informed by the Metropolitan Police that it is no longer concerned that publication of the Report could prejudice its ongoing investigations".

It said final checks were being carried out ahead of delivery to the BBC and publication.
Drafts of the report will have been seen by numerous parties involved in the review.
The draft report leaked by Exaro contains more than 37,500 words on 500 pages and was completed a little over a year ago.

Savile indecently assaulted an underage girl on the set of Top of the Pops in 1969, the report says. The girl told a member of floor staff, who ejected her from the building.
Savile also assaulted a 17-year-old girl on camera on Top of the Pops in 1976. She too complained to floor staff but, “her complaint was brushed aside with the explanation that that was ‘just Jimmy fooling about’,” writes Smith.

A floor manager between 1971 and 1972 heard rumors that Savile liked young girls of about 15 or 16.

IN QUOTES

Jimmy Savile's denials


Photo: Alex Maguire / Rex Features

On rumours he abused children:
 
“Whatever is said after I’m gone is irrelevant. If I’m gone that’s that,” he said. “B------- to my legacy”.
On tabloid rumours of paedophilia:
 
“Nobody knows whether I am or not. I know I'm not, so I can tell you from experience that the easy way of doing it when they're saying ‘Oh, you have all them children on Jim'll Fix It’, say ‘Yeah, I hate 'em.'"
On why he said he hated children:
 
"We live in a very funny world and it's easier for me, as a single man, to say ‘I don't like children’ because that puts a lot of salacious tabloid people off the hunt.”
On being asked if he was “into little girls”:
 
“I’d rather not even opinionate on this. I’ll leave it to the psychologists to sort out the psychology of child abuse.”
Savile would arrange for particular girls to be on the podium next to him during filming on Top of the Pops and a TOTP producer said in the late 1970s “Savile always used to choose the girls and boys he wanted close to him…instead of letting the director or floor manager choose them.”

The inquiry, led by former Court of Appeal judge Smith, supported by Dame Linda Dobbs, has been delayed numerous times due to conflicting criminal proceedings since it opened in 2012.

However final checks were recently announced to have been underway, ahead of the report’s delivery to the BBC and publication early in March.

The review encompasses evidence from 775 people, including interviews with 375 witnesses in the Savile investigation and more than 100 relating to Stuart Hall.

Tony Hall, the director-general of the BBC, 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.

“Dame 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.

“The Review expects the report to be published within six weeks and we hope it will be published as swiftly as possible."
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