New claims surfaced that Mark Thompson's office was alerted to child sex abuse allegations against former BBC star Jimmy Savile.
Since relevations about Savile's abuse began, hundreds of potential victims have come forward. Now, the BBC is fighting claims that it tried to cover up his crimes and that it dropped its own expose into Savile while Thompson served as chief. Thompson, who is scheduled to begin his role as the new CEO of the New York Times, has said that he was not aware of the expose and had no role in the decision to cancel it.
On Sunday, Sky News reported that journalist Miles Goslett and ITV reportedly contacted Thompson's office about the allegations as early as May. A spokesperson for Thompson said that the former BBC chief was not told about the exchanges in either case.
Goslett reportedly spoke to the head of Thompson's office on May 18. A BBC spokesperson said she directed him to the network's press relations office, but did not tell Thompson about their conversation. Thompson's spokesperson also said that he was not told about the exchange, and "was on holiday at the time."
In September, ITV reportedly contacted Thompson's office after interviewing ten of Savile's victims. A spokesperson said, "Mark does not recall being briefed and took no part in the response to the email in early September from ITV relating to its Jimmy Savile documentary. This response was handled by colleagues in BBC Journalism."
The growing scandal has led some, including Times public editor Margaret Sullivan, to question whether Thompson is fit to take over as CEO of the New York Times. Times management, however, has voiced its support for him. Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. recently backed him up, calling him the "ideal person" for the job, and Thompson has said that he has been "very well supported" by the company.
Earlier, he stressed, "I do not believe there is anything that I've done in relation to this matter which should in anyway impinge on my abilities to fully discharge the responsibilities I'll have at the New York Times."
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