LONDON — A confidential BBC report into the sex crimes of TV presenter Jimmy Savile has concluded that the broadcaster’s employees are more reluctant to blow the whistle on wrong-doing today than they were when Savile’s crimes took place.
The draft report by retired judge Janet Smith, which has been leaked by investigative website Exaro, found that Savile was responsible for 61 sexual assaults linked to BBC premises, including four rapes and one attempted rape. His sex crimes are believed to have begun in the mid-1940s, when he was in his late teens or early 20s, and continued until 2009. More than 100 BBC staff or former staff told Smith they had known about Savile’s predatory sexual conduct.
The report states that BBC staff were too “deferential” toward TV stars and their managers in Savile’s day, and treated them with “kid gloves.” Also, they were afraid to speak out about abusive behavior. This reluctance to rock the boat is as bad or worse now, the report states, because so many staff are freelance or on short-term contracts, and so feel they have little job security.
Smith claims that the BBC’s policy of protecting whistleblowers does not appear to be working effectively. “It is clear from the evidence that there is still a widespread reluctance to complain about anything or even for it to be known that one has complained to a third party,” she states.