The BBC has appointed an independent safeguarding expert to assist its investigation into what was known about DJ Tim Westwood’s conduct while he worked at the broadcaster, with a call for evidence period now extended to allow more people to come forwards.
Jahnine Davis, an expert in the safeguarding of young people, will work with Gemma White QC of Linklaters to assist with the review. White noted Davis would be available to join conversations and meetings as she compiles the extensive document.
A joint Guardian newspaper and BBC investigation into Westwood’s conduct during his 20 years at the BBC last year revealed multiple women, all of whom were teenage or young adults at the time, had accused him of sexual misconduct and predatory behavior. Westwood denies the allegations, which were also featured in BBC documentary Tim Westwood: Abuse of Power.
White will provide an account of any allegations or concerns associated with Westwood’s misconduct to the BBC Board, along with the reasons why such allegations were not brought to the BBC’s attention. BBC Director General Tim Davie gaffed in April, when he said he knew of no complaints against Westwood during his time there. Several weeks later, the corporation said there had in fact been six complaints against Westwood over bullying and sexual misconduct, one of which had been handed to the police.
“It has been just over a month since the BBC published my call for evidence for the review and I want to thank everyone who has come forward with information,” said White today.
“Some of you have told me how difficult it has been for you to take the decision to contact me. I understand that speaking about sensitive matters can be painful and there are many things that you have needed to consider before doing so.
“Others who have written or spoken to me have wondered whether the information they have to contribute is relevant, or sufficiently important – and my answer to that is, simply, yes. I have been, and remain, keen to hear from everyone who has anything to say to me. It is important to me that I hear from everyone who wishes to speak and I have therefore decided to extend the period for people to get in touch.”
The BBC has previously said it is also in contact with the Metropolitan Police and any relevant information will be passed to the force. In August, police confirmed they are investigating sexual offense allegations against the former DJ.