LONDON — A top BBC editor stepped aside Monday while the broadcaster reviews a decision to pull the plug on a segment about sexual abuse allegations against a beloved U.K. children’s television star.
The editor, Peter Rippon of the prominent “Newsnight” program, had not been forthcoming in his explanation about why the segment on Jimmy Savile did not run, the BBC said in a statement. The broadcaster said he is stepping down immediately while the matter is investigated.
The respected British broadcaster’s decision has damaged its reputation and led to accusations it was covering up the crimes of one of its biggest stars, who died last year at the age of 84 after a long career in children’s television.
Savile’s actions are also being investigated by police and other agencies. Police say there may be more than 200 potential victims of the entertainer, the longtime host of “Top of the Pops” and “Jim'll Fix It,” recognized for his garish track suits and platinum hair.
The BBC is facing criticism for providing different explanations for pulling the December segment that would have lifted the veil on Savile’s abusive history, which had been rumored but not reported on at the time.
“We have to get to the bottom of what happened,” he said. “These are serious questions.”
The BBC Trust, the corporation’s governing body, said it was deeply concerned that there had been “inaccuracies in the BBC’s own description of what happened in relation to the Newsnight investigation.”
BBC is publicly funded through its license fees and various commercial enterprises; it enjoys a large degree of independence from government but is subject to legislation passed by Parliament.
It used Savile for many years despite rumors about his activity.
The BBC is set to air its own investigation of its failure to report on Savile’s sexual abuses Monday night on the “Panorama” show.
On the show set for broadcast Monday, BBC correspondents claim the Savile segment was pulled because of pressure from senior management.View Entire Story
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