Report criticizes BBC for handling Jimmy Savile scandal, doesn’t find evidence of cover-up

By Daniel S Levine,

An independent investigation into the BBC’s handling of the Jimmy Savile scandal revealed its findings on Wednesday. While investigator Nick Pollard and his team found that senior BBC executives did not cover-up the scandal, they did criticize the respected news organization’s handling of the scandal.

According to The New York Times, Pollard’s 200-page report detailed “a chain of events that was to prove disastrous for the BBC.” The investigators blamed the “rigid management system” that was “completely incapable of dealing with” a scandal like this.

Savile is accused of sexual abuse on the BBC premises over decades. He died in October 2011, just before a Newsnight report on the allegations was set to air. The story, which was to follow an ITV report that first broke news of the allegations, never aired and some suspected a cover-up.

While Pollard, the former head of Sky News, harshly criticized the actions of the Newsnight producers, including editor Peter Rippon and his two superiors, he found that there was no evidence to prove that senior executives had a hand in the decision. According to Reuters, this clears the former BBC director general, Mark Thompson, who is now the CEO of The New York Times.

Pollard was critical of the complex structure at the BBC and the BBC Trust has accepted the investigation’s recommendations.

Last week, police completed their Savile investigation, finding that Savile is a suspect in 199 crimes, including 31 rapes.

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