On Thursday, the BBC released a report that attempted to figure out how former DJ Jimmy Savile and broadcaster Stuart Hall could have been permitted to sexually abuse almost 100 victims total over several decades.
The report, which is the result of a three-year investigation, identified 72 victims of Savile (eight of whom were raped, including an eight-year-old) and 21 victims of Hall, and attributed the gross misconduct to a BBC culture of deference to celebrities.
Employees had known about Savile’s behavior, the investigation found, but were too afraid to report him to senior management.
The BBC reports:
Dame Janet said Savile, who died in 2011, and Hall [who is currently in jail after admitting to assaulting 13 girls] were “serial sexual predators” and the BBC missed five opportunities to stop their misconduct.
The inquiry spoke to 117 witnesses from the BBC who said they had heard rumours about Savile.
The review cost £6.5m and its report is 1,000 pages and three volumes long.
Liz Dux, specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon who represents 168 of Savile’s victims, said: “Many victims will feel it was nothing more than an expensive whitewash.”
Savile was a beloved media personality in the United Kingdom, until allegations of his abuse came out in 2012.
“Usually, Savile either met the victim at the BBC or else he groomed the victim by offering the opportunity to attend the BBC before taking the victim elsewhere, often to his home or camper-van,” Dame Janet’s report on Savile reads. “In addition to these incidents which occurred on his own premises, Savile would gratify himself sexually on BBC premises whenever the opportunity arose and I heard of incidents which took place in virtually every one of the BBC’s premises at which he worked.”
“No one reading the reports can be in any doubt that the BBC failed [the victims],” BBC Trust chairperson Rona Fairhead said in a statement. “It failed, not just them, but the public, its audiences and its staff.”
“It turned a blind eye, where it should have shone a light. And it did not protect those who put their trust in it.”
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Image of Jimmy Savile via Getty.