BBC investigates 25 sexual harassment claims

BBC New Broadcasting HouseThe BBC has reported to the UK government that it is investigating as many as 25 sexual harassment claims following the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Anne Bulford, the BBC deputy director general told a government digital, culture, media and sport select committee on Tuesday that the pubcaster is investigating multiple claims after the corporation’s chiefs encouraged employees to come forward.

“After the Weinstein material was published we reminded staff again of the procedures,” said Bulford.

“All the time we are encouraging people to step forward if that is the right thing to do. You perhaps won’t be surprised to know that we have a spike at present. We have a spike, more cases than we have seen over the last three years.

It has been reported that the BBC was already looking into a sexual harassment case over a well-known radio presenter who was accused of abuse by four women.

Tony Hall, the BBC director general said that the pubcaster has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to bullying, which includes sexual harassment.

“As far as harassment and bullying, and I would extend that to sexual harassment too, we should have zero tolerance. That means to make it as easy as possible to do the very difficult thing and come forward and call out behaviour that is not acceptable,” he stated.

The news arrives after Harvey Weinstein was fired from The Weinstein Company for multiple accusations of sexual harassment and assault this October.

The Weinstein revelations have sparked a range of reports of similar cases in the media industry since.

Just this week, three women also accused Keshet Broadcasting founder Alex Gilady in Israel of inappropriate behaviour and rape, while Gossip Girl star Ed Westwick, who is currently appearing in BBC comedy White Gold, has also been accused of rape.

On initial accusations about Gilady, Drorit Wertheim, chair of the Keshet board said:“The testimonies by reporters about alleged improper behavior attributed to Alex Gilady are saddening and very painful. Regardless of the details of the cases themselves, the circumstances and the passage of time, I wish to offer support to anyone who feels hurt or humiliated as a result of improper and unacceptable conduct.

“For anyone who has been a victim of sexual harassment, whether in deed or words, time offers no solace. Together with Keshet’s management I continue to be whole-heartedly committed to ensuring that we provide a secure and protected work environment to anyone who works with us.”

Following reports that Gilady had also been accused of rape, the following has been stated: “I temporarily step aside from Keshet to fight to prove my innocence from these unfounded accusations,” said Gilady. “I repeat what I said before, these allegations are false and I will use legal action available against these accusations.”

Wertheim added: “Effective today, following Alex’s announcement, he will no longer serve as president of Keshet.”

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