BBC chief George Entwistle has spoken out for the first time since news first broke of Jimmy Savile’s alleged sexual abuse of a young woman whilst she was on work experience at the BBC, stating it will not be conducting an investigation into the claims.
Speaking on the BBC Top of the Pops presenter Entwistle insisted there was no evidence to suggest that "any known wrongdoing was ignored by management in the 1960s and 1970s."
We went on to say that "it was not necessary for the BBC to launch an independent inquiry because that would run the risk of damaging or impeding their [The Met’s] work".
"The police are the only people with the proper powers to assess criminal allegations," he continued.
The statement came as the number of suspected victims reached 40, with Entwistle sending an email to staff which also addressed last year's decision, when Entwistle was director of BBC Vision, to axe a Newsnight investigation into abuse by Savile.
The BBC director general said Newsnight editor Peter Rippon decided "honestly and honourably" not to broadcast the 10-minute film – and he had seen "no evidence" that pressure was applied on him by any other part of the BBC.
Entwistle again stated the position of the BBC and that "crucially and regrettably there were no complaints … made at the time" and there was "nothing at this stage to suggest any known wrongdoing was ignored by management".
A statement which contradicts the experience of alleged victims of Savile abuse and those of many well-known broadcasters who worked for the BBC at the time, including Janet Street-Porter who on Thursday’s airing of BBC Question Time confirmed she had known of the rumours surrounding Savile and there was “definitely” a culture at the BBC of inappropriate sexual behaviour.
Street-Porter, who worked at the BBC during the 70s and 80s, said: "A lot of people in the BBC knew what was going on.”
“I heard the rumours but I was working in an environment that was totally male.
But when questioned by a member of the audience on why she didn’t come forward she said: "Do you really think that if I said to someone at the BBC higher up than me this was going on - they wouldn't gave taken any notice of me whatsoever?"