Entertainment

BBC Director-General: Tim Westwood’s allegations are powerful and chilling

BBC director-general Tim Davie said the allegations against Tim Westwood were “shocking” and the women’s claims were “powerful and appalling” but he had seen “no evidence of complaints” from the DJ’s time with the company.

The veteran hip-hop DJ and radio presenter, who left BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 1Xtra in 2013 after almost 20 years, has been accused by several women of sexual misconduct and predatory behavior.

A representative said Westwood “strongly denies all allegations of wrongdoing.”

In allegations made to the BBC and the Guardian, Westwood, 64, allegedly abused his position in the music industry to take advantage of seven women who were in their late teens or early 20s at the time.

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Tim Davie (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The allegations were detailed in a BBC Three documentary, Tim Westwood: Abuse of Power, which aired Tuesday night.

Asked at the Voice of the Listener & Viewer spring conference whether complaints to the BBC about Westwood’s lack of diversity could be ignored, Davie said of the documentary: “It’s shocking and the testimony from the women is powerful and appalling.

“By the way, I have to thank the BBC and Guardian teams for following up the story. I think that’s absolutely what we should be doing.

“I have seen no evidence of complaints. I asked and we looked through our records and we didn’t see any evidence.”

He added: “I think now we’re in a position where we’re very clear about the culture, meaning any complaint has to be taken seriously. If something like this has been raised or anything comes up, we investigate it fully. And I would hope that we did during this time.

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“I would just say if people have evidence that things have not been followed up or if they have any concerns in this area, bring them to us. We want to investigate that.”

He continued, “The only thing I know is that you have to look at yourself and say, ‘Did I know something?’ and in this case I haven’t seen any evidence of that, but we’re going to investigate and we’re going to dig and dig and dig.

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Tim Westwood (Lia Toby/PA)

“It is shocking to see these testimonies. But more generally, when people have evidence of wrongdoing, it is imperative that we present it.

“A truly inclusive workforce means people feel safe to speak up, to talk, to bring things up, there’s no fear around. I think all companies have to work really hard to create that environment.

“People know I’m passionate about it and I hope at the BBC all the work we do on values, if you’re a senior leader now you’ll be valued on: encourage diversity of views, like happy are you employees are.

“All of this is critical to creating an environment where behaving in a certain way becomes totally unacceptable. But things are also addressed and dealt with quickly, so there must be trust.”

When asked about the privileges that come with being a talent at the BBC and whether the company has a special responsibility to be proactive, Davie said: “I think we do things proactively. And I think any environment where power can be abused is one to worry about.

“This is a strange business and you have the power of talent often at the lower level, on the front lines, then you have people like me as leaders, but all organizations have power in different places and there is nothing worse in life than abuse of power.

“It’s about values, it’s about creating the right culture, it’s about putting the right leaders in place. I think we’ve had this across the industry where you need to be absolutely clear that this is totally unacceptable and also create a very trustworthy process in terms of whistleblowing.

“That’s something we’re working on, I’m very vocal about it. The processes are good, we have to keep building trust.”

Three women have accused the DJ of opportunistic and predatory sexual behavior, while four others say he groped them at events, according to the Guardian.

A statement by Westwood’s representative to the PA news agency on Tuesday said: “Tim Westwood strongly denies any allegations of improper conduct.

“In his 40-year career there have never been any official or unofficial complaints against him.

“Tim Westwood firmly denies all allegations of misconduct.”

Westwood was scheduled to perform at a number of events over the next month, but the entries have disappeared from his website.

A gig at The Empire in Bedford, scheduled for April 29, was canceled and a statement shared on Instagram by his management said: “In light of the allegations, this event has been cancelled.

“Tim Westwood denies all allegations of wrongdoing.

“Sorry for the inconvenience this may cause on your bank holiday weekend.”

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/bbc-director-general-tim-westwood-allegations-are-powerful-and-appalling-41592928.html BBC Director-General: Tim Westwood’s allegations are powerful and chilling

Fry Electronics Team

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