The BBC has announced that Gemma White – the lawyer who was appointed in August to examine what was known regarding concerns about Tim Westwood’s conduct during his time working for the broadcaster – has extended her call for evidence. Jahnine Davis, a safeguarding expert, has also been appointed to assist with the review.
White was appointed to undertake an independent review into Westwood’s time at the BBC following an internal investigation which was in turn launched in response to reports published by BBC News and The Guardian earlier this year – and a BBC Three documentary – in which a number of women accused the DJ of sexual misconduct.
Some of those women said that, after they agreed to meet with the DJ to discuss their careers in music, he had pressured them into sex. Others claimed that he had groped them as they posed for photographs at events. Many of those alleged incidents occurred between 1994 to 2013, when Westwood worked for the BBC.
BBC management initially said that they were not aware of any formal complaints having been made against Westwood that pre-dated this year’s documentary. However, they subsequently admitted that they had found some old complaints in the files. The independent review is looking into those and other complaints about Westwood’s conduct, the extent to which BBC management were aware of the allegations, and how they dealt with them at the time.
Commenting on her work so far, White said yesterday: “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. 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”, she added. “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”.
Confirming the involvement of Davis in the review moving forward, White went on: “I am pleased to say the BBC has appointed an independent safeguarding expert at my request, to assist me with aspects of the review. Jahnine Davis is a respected and experienced expert in her field and she is available to join me for conversations or meetings”.
White then concluded: “To anyone who sees this who may have something to share, please feel free to contact me directly and if you would like Jahnine to be involved, please just let me know. If you have any questions, please ask them. And if you have any concerns about providing information, please let me know what they are. I understand that revisiting experiences can be very difficult and want to do all I can to make the process as comfortable for you as possible”.
The call for evidence will now stay open until 2 Dec – more information here.
Westwood has previously denied all the claims made against him, with a representative earlier this year stating: “Tim Westwood strongly denies all allegations of inappropriate behaviour. In a career that has spanned 40 years, there have never been any complaints made against him officially or unofficially. Tim Westwood strongly rejects all allegations of wrongdoing”.