Tim Westwood: BBC reveals complaints against DJ

By Chi Chi Izundu & Ruth Evans
BBC News

  • Published
Tim Westwood pictured in 2019Image source, SOPA Images / Getty Images

The BBC has revealed that a complaint against former Radio 1 DJ Tim Westwood had previously been referred to police.

The complaint is one of six the corporation now says it received about alleged bullying or sexual misconduct by Westwood.

Director general Tim Davie said in April "no evidence of complaints" had been found after BBC News and the Guardian revealed accounts of predatory sexual behaviour by the DJ.

Westwood denies the allegations.

In relation to the police referral, a BBC spokesman said in a statement: "This is a historic case that the BBC has found in its files. We are establishing the facts around it.

"It did not relate to conduct at the BBC, BBC premises, or conduct towards a BBC staff member, nor was it an accusation of physical assault."

The BBC declined to say whether the other five complaints had been received before or after Mr Davie's statement in April.

The spokesman added that the DJ had been "spoken to" following one of the other complaints.

And the corporation said it was not aware of what further action was taken about the complaints at the time.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Tim Westwood was a presenter on BBC Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra between 1994 and 2013

The complaints were revealed after BBC News challenged the corporation's response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request made in November 2021.

The request was part of a joint investigation with the Guardian, which featured the accounts of seven black women who alleged unexpected and unwanted sexual touching and sexual misconduct between 1992 and 2017.

They were featured in a BBC Three documentary, Tim Westwood: Abuse of Power.

Some worked in the music industry and feared repercussions - with the DJ having a prominent role in an industry long-criticised for its treatment of darker-skinned black women.

Allegations about Westwood's behaviour towards young black women had circulated on social media for some time.

Westwood, 64, was a presenter on BBC Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra between 1994 and 2013, where he hosted the UK's first nationally broadcast hip-hop show.

In a response at the time to the documentary, a spokesperson for the DJ said he denied the allegations in their entirety.

They said: "Our client confirms that there has never been any complaint made against him, whether officially or unofficially, relating to claims of inappropriate behaviour of the nature described.

"No complaint has ever been made to the police, and nobody has ever raised these matters, or any colourably similar, with him directly or with his representatives.

"There has been no investigation in relation to him of any nature whatsoever, whether by the police, his employer or indeed any other authority."

BBC News has made several attempts to contact him for comment about the complaints, but he has yet to respond.

The BBC said the six complaints covered the years Westwood worked for the corporation, and some related to conduct outside of the broadcaster.

In its response to the BBC News challenge, the corporation said: "We are aware that one of these complaints was referred to police and Westwood was spoken to in relation to another complaint.

"We are not aware what further action was taken at this stage. As a result of this, we are looking into what action was taken at the time."

Following the joint BBC News and Guardian investigation in April, Mr Davie had said "we looked at our records and we've seen no evidence" of complaints against the DJ.

"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 as well," Mr Davie said, referring to Westwood's time at the BBC.

"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."

The BBC said Mr Davie had set out the position as he understood it at the time.

Mr Davie was director of audio and music at the corporation, ultimately overseeing BBC Radio 1, between 2008 and 2012.

'We take this seriously'

After the FOI request was submitted in November 2021, the corporation initially responded to say it could "neither confirm nor deny whether the BBC holds the requested information".

When the story was published, it said in a statement that it was "shocked to hear of these allegations" but did not "hold information that is helpful for this investigation".

In its latest statement, the BBC said: "As we have said, if people have things that they want to raise with the BBC, then they should do so. People have now done so and we will continue to investigate.

"We also said that we would dig into what happened in the past. We are doing that with great care. All of that work hasn't concluded and is ongoing. We said we would take this seriously, and we are."

The latest disclosures by the broadcaster came after BBC News appealed to the Information Commissioner's Office, which regulates Freedom of Information Act requests in the UK.

The BBC said it had volunteered the information about the six complaints outside the scope of the Freedom of Information Act.

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