The BBC Board made the decision following an expedited review by the broadcaster’s internal investigations team, which reported to the board’s senior independent director Nick Serota. The BBC has instructed Gemma White QC, supported by the law firm Linklaters, to lead this work.
The 64-year-old Westwood presented shows on BBC Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra between 1994 and 2013. In April, a joint investigation conducted by the BBC and the Guardian brought to light the accounts of seven Black women who alleged sexual touching and sexual misconduct by Westwood between 1992 and 2017. They were featured in the BBC Three documentary, “Tim Westwood: Abuse of Power.”
Serota said: “New allegations and issues are emerging as time passes and more people are prepared to come forward. For this reason the work must continue.” Serota has asked for the review to be published within six months but has said that it is not a hard deadline.
“In light of the BBC’s internal review, I believe that there may have been occasions in the past when the BBC should have further explored issues that were being raised. It now appears there are allegations against Tim Westwood dating to before, during and after his employment with the BBC and also elsewhere. The BBC is willing to work with any other employers in order to fully establish what happened,” Serota added.
The BBC internal review confirmed that two reports of sexual misconduct by Westwood were received in 2012 and also found that two sets of internal complaints were made regarding allegations of inappropriate behaviour by Westwood in the workplace in 2011 and 2012. There was also an allegation in 2012 that Westwood had created a toxic atmosphere amongst those he worked with at the BBC.
In addition, following the publication of the BBC and Guardian reports in April, a member of BBC staff alleged an incident of sexual assault by Westwood at a BBC-linked event in the mid-2000s, against a female. The staff member told the BBC that the female concerned did not wish to report the matter to police at the time. They also recall that they reported the matter to someone at the BBC at the time.
The BBC also received three further allegations (one made anonymously) following publication of the BBC and Guardian allegations, regarding incidents, “which do not appear to be directly connected to the BBC,” the internal review found.
The BBC is in contact with the Metropolitan Police and any relevant information will be passed to them.