The Freeland File
Aerospace & Defense
Global Market Data
Lucy P. Marcus
David Cay Johnston
The Great Debate
Jack & Suzy Welch
Macro & Markets
Lipper Awards 2012
Personal Finance Video
The Bond Girls
The James Bond film franchise marks its 50th birthday. Learn More
Venezuela's Chavez revels in re-election victory
Pressure is on Biden after Obama's lackluster debate performance
07 Oct 2012
Chavez supporters party on anticipated win in Venezuela vote
07 Oct 2012
Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding plans up to $500 mln loan - sources
07 Oct 2012
Lawmakers seek to block China's Huawei, ZTE inroads in U.S.
Romney’s strong debate showing puts Europe on edge
Obama and Romney battle over economy at debate
Weak U.S. labor market looms ahead of elections
Our day's top images, in-depth photo essays and offbeat slices of life. See the best of Reuters photography. See more | Photo caption
Hugo Chavez scored a comfortable election victory over Henrique Capriles, that could extend his rule to 20 years. Slideshow
David Blaine electrifies
Magician David Blaine stands on a 20-foot-high platform, channeling one million volts of electricity through tesla coils for 72 hours. Slideshow
Britain's BBC apologizes over sex abuse scandal
Sex claims over "saintly" TV star put BBC in spotlight
Wed, Oct 3 2012
Analysis & Opinion
A gentle reminder from the police to the press
Rhino attacked, tiger killed as floods ravage Northeast
A tribute is seen next to the coffin of British entertainer Jimmy Saville as it is displayed to the public at The Queens Hotel in Leeds, northern England November 8, 2011.
Credit: Reuters/Nigel Roddis
By Maria Golovnina
Mon Oct 8, 2012 9:06am EDT
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's BBC on Monday apologized to a group of women who allege that one of the state-funded broadcaster's top entertainers sexually abused them decades ago, a scandal that has raised questions about the BBC's judgment then and now.
The man accused of using his status as a celebrity and prominent charity fund raiser to commit the crimes is Jimmy Savile, an eccentric BBC presenter who died last year aged 84.
Instantly recognizable for his shock of blonde hair, Savile was famous for his larger-than-life personality and for his love of smoking cigars, donning tracksuits and coming out with catch phrases that sometimes became part of the national lexicon.
The former DJ travelled around London in a Rolls-Royce and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his charitable work in 1990. When he died last year, he was buried wearing a tracksuit after his gold-colored coffin was put on public display in a hotel.
His reputation was called into question last week, however, after a documentary shown by the BBC's rival ITV channel aired a slew of sexual assault allegations against Savile, triggering a media storm that has raised awkward questions for the BBC.
On Monday, the BBC's new boss, George Entwistle, promised the corporation would cooperate fully with the police to investigate the allegations.
"The women involved here have gone through something awful and it's something I deeply regret," he told BBC radio on Monday, the first time the BBC had said it was sorry for what it is alleged to have happened.
"I would like to apologize on behalf of the organization to each and every one of them for what they have had to endure here."
"A CULTURE OF SEXUAL ABUSE"
Some women said Savile had abused them when they were as young as 12 and described a culture of sexual abuse inside the BBC at the height of Savile's fame in the 1970s and 1980s. Some also alleged that they had been attacked on BBC premises.
The scandal has seen critics accuse the BBC of mishandling or even covering up the case, particularly after an investigation into the allegations by its own flagship TV program was axed by its editors last December.
Prime Minister David Cameron has waded into the scandal, calling on the BBC to conduct an internal investigation, saying the allegations were "truly shocking".
"It seems to me it is very important that the organization, the BBC, does that itself," he told a BBC program on Sunday.
"But also, if there are questions that should be pursued by the police and other organizations, everyone has to ask themselves the question: 'Is there new evidence that needs to be looked at?'"
Entwistle - who became Director General of the BBC less than a month ago - said all questions would be addressed, but only after police had finished their own investigation.
In an attempt to distance themselves from the sex abuse claims, charities set up by Savile are now considering dropping his name altogether, local media reported.
Last year, an investigation by Newsnight, the BBC's flagship news show, was shelved, prompting suggestions that BBC bosses had known about the allegations but kept quiet.
The BBC has denied that. Newsnight's editor Peter Rippon said his decision not to run its story was because the claims against Savile could not be substantiated.
(Editing by Andrew Osborn)
Related Quotes and News
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Be the first to comment on reuters.com.
Add yours using the box above.
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.