Why The New York Times Could Get Swept Up In BBC Sex Scandal
NEW YORK TIMES (US), THE TELEGRAPH (UK), REUTERS
An unfolding sex abuse scandal at the BBC risks spilling over to another premier global news source across the Atlantic.
The New York Times' public editor, Margaret Sullivan, has questioned whether former BBC chief, Mark Thompson, who has been tapped to be the new Times CEO is still an appropriate choice, after claims of sex abuse and a cover-up involving one of the British broadcaster's most famous entertainers, Jimmy Savile.
In a blog post on Tuesday, Sullivan questioned how likely it was that Thompson knew about the alleged sexual abuse claims. "His integrity and decision-making are bound to affect The Times and its journalism -- profoundly. It's worth considering now whether he is the right person for the job, given this turn of events," she wrote.
Reuters is reporting that one Wall Street analyst has also called for the New York Times Co. to delay Thompson's taking over the company.
Over the course of the last month, hundreds of sex abuse allegations have been made about the late Jimmy Savile, who died last year at the age of 84. He was previously one of the broadcaster's biggest personalities, presenting "Top of the Pops" and "Jim'll Fix It", where children would write in to have their wishes granted.
Saville in 1982 (William Starkey)
The BBC has been accused of covering up Savile's abuse, amidst continuing rumors of claims against him over the years. The allegations against the former television presenter have snowballed after the BBC's rival broadcaster ITV decided to air an investigative report on Savile, after the BBC dropped a similar investigation by its "Newsnight" programme last year.
Thompson, who was director general at the BBC from 2004 until last month, said in a statement: "I was not notified or briefed about the Newsnight investigation, nor was I involved in any way in the decision not to complete and air the investigation."
Women across the country have come out to testify against Savile, claiming that he molested them as teenagers during the 1960s and 1970s. Allegations have been made about Savile's activities in hospitals around the country that he would visit as part of his charity work.
The Telegraph reported on October 11 that one woman recalled being molested by Savile when she was 13-years-old in a hospital in Buckinghamshire in 1971. Other claims include the TV personality sexually abusing a brain-damaged child in Leeds infirmary.
The current BBC director general has appeared before Parliament this week, following the criticism. He told the Commons culture committee that the "culture and practices of the BBC seemed to allow Jimmy Savile to do what he did." British police have now launched an investigation.