Tim Westwood: Claims against DJ are appalling, BBC director general says

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Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
DJ Tim Westwood currently broadcasts on Capital Xtra

BBC director general Tim Davie has described sexual misconduct claims made against former Radio 1 DJ Tim Westwood as "appalling", calling for anyone else with evidence to come forward.

Mr Davie said he had found no evidence of complaints made to the corporation about the DJ while he was at the BBC.

Meanwhile, Westwood has had two planned DJ sets cancelled after seven women made allegations about him.

The Capital Xtra and former BBC Radio 1 host strenuously denies the claims.

On Tuesday, a joint investigation into the British hip-hop DJ by the BBC and The Guardian featured the accounts of seven women relating to alleged incidents between 1992 and 2017.

The women accused Westwood of predatory sexual behaviour and touching, claiming he abused his position in the music industry to exploit them.

He hosted shows on Radio 1 and 1Xtra from 1994 to 2013 and currently presents a weekly slot on Capital Xtra.

Capital's parent company Global is yet to respond to requests for comment on the allegations and to confirm whether Westwood will host his next show on Saturday as planned.

'Abuse of power'

Speaking at the Voice of the Listener and Viewer conference on Wednesday, Mr Davie, who became BBC boss in 2020, said the allegations were "shocking" and the testimony of the women was "powerful and appalling".

He said he had "seen no evidence of complaints" being made to BBC managers about Westwood's behaviour in the past.

"I've asked and we've looked at our records and we've seen no evidence," he said. "If something like this were raised or anything comes up, we investigate it fully. And I would hope we were doing that in that time [when Westwood worked for the BBC] as well.

"I would simply say if people have evidence where things weren't followed up, or they have concerns in this area, bring it to us. We want to investigate it."

Asked whether that applied to historic problems, Mr Davie replied: "Totally. We will follow up anything and we'll dig and dig and dig, and I want to know if people have got… It's shocking to see those testimonies.

"I make the point more generally - if people have got evidence of wrongdoing, absolutely. We need to bring it forward."

The director general stressed that "there's nothing worse in life than abuse of power", adding: "You need to be absolutely clear that it's completely unacceptable."

Following the allegations, which were published on Tuesday, Westwood has seen sets at the Rum Rum nightclub in Birmingham and Butlins in Bognor Regis cancelled.

The events page of his website, which listed four more UK events scheduled for April and May, has also been removed.

Of the women making the accusations, two accused him of initiating unwanted and unexpected sex, one said she was subjected to unwanted oral sex, and four accused the DJ of touching their bottoms or breasts.

The women who spoke to the BBC are all black, and said they met Westwood through his work. They told their stories in a BBC Three documentary, Tim Westwood: Abuse of Power.

A spokesman for Westwood said he was a well-respected and highly successful DJ and that he strenuously denied in their entirety the serious allegations made against him.

He said he did not behave in the manner described and any suggestion that he acts, or has acted, in the way described would be false.

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