The public revulsion over allegations of sex abuse by a beloved TV host and accusations of a cover up by the BBC have gripped the UK since the start of the month, and they show no signs of abating.Some are even wondering if the scandal could cost BBC boss John Entwistle his job.
Entwistle appeared today before a parliamentary panel that questioned him on why a planned BBC Newsnight segment on the allegations against the late BBC star Sir Jimmy Savile had never gone to air. Entwistle and the show’s producer have already had their version of the events leading to the cancellation contradicted by another BBC News show and the corporation’s own internal investigation.
Entwistle’s performance is unlikely to placate his critics. Here’s how Alan Cowell of the New York Times describes it:
[In] more than two hours, Mr. Entwistle seemed to parry most questions, falling back frequently on the argument that formal inquiries would produce answers to some of the questions put to him by the panel, expressing “horror” at a scandal that had raised questions of trust and reputation for the BBC, and insisting that his direct knowledge of the affair was minimal. Panel members even mocked him for showing a lack of curiosity about events around him.
The consensus amongst British journalists on Twitter seems to be that Entwistle may well have to fall on his sword to help end the scandal, and the UK’s “i” newspaper ran with a front page today that said Entwistle was in a fight for his job.
Of course, Entwistle is far from the only one who is facing problems from the fallout about the Savile allegations and the cancellation of the BBC’s segment on him. As we noted earlier this week, the head of the BBC at the time of the cancellation of the segment wasn’t Entwistle. It was Mark Thompson, due to start as his new job as the New York Times Company CEO this month.
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