BBC reveals six complaints against ex-Radio 1 DJ Tim Westwood

Entertainment

The BBC has revealed that it received six complaints against DJ Tim Westwood – one of which was referred to police – despite earlier claims it had seen “no evidence of complaints” from the former Radio 1 presenter’s time at the corporation.

In April, seven women accused Westwood of sexual misconduct between 1992 and 2017, following a joint investigation by The Guardian and the BBC. Their stories were told in the BBC Three documentary, Tim Westwood: Abuse of Power.

Three of the women accused Westwood of opportunistic and predatory sexual behaviour, while four others claim they were groped by him at events. All the women were black, and worked in the music industry.

At the time, Director general Tim Davie said that while the allegations made against the DJ were “shocking” and the claims made by the women were “powerful and appalling”, he had seen “no evidence of complaints” from the DJ’s time at the corporation.

The six newly revealed complaints received by the BBC all concern bullying and sexual misconduct and are alleged to have taken place in the years Westwood worked for the corporation, according to BBC News.

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Seven women spoke out in the BBC Three documentary, Tim Westwood: Abuse of Power

In relation to the police referral, a BBC spokesman said in a statement to BBC News: “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.”

It is not clear whether the other five complaints had been received before or after Mr Davie’s statement in April.

Mr Davie was director of audio and music at the corporation, overseeing the channel’s radio stations including BBC Radio 1, between 2008 and 2012.

While a BBC spokesman could not confirm what actions were taken about the complaints at the time, they said Westwood had been “spoken to” following one of the other complaints.

These newly revealed complaints have come to light after BBC News challenged the corporation’s response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request made in November 2021.

The corporation had initially responded to say it could “neither confirm nor deny whether the BBC holds the requested information”. They say they are now volunteering the information about the six complaints outside the scope of the Freedom of Information Act.

DJ Tim Westwood performing at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London in 2014
Image:
DJ Tim Westwood performing at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London in 2014

In response to a request for further information from Sky News, 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. When that work has concluded, we will say more.”

Westwood strongly denies all allegations against him.

Claims about Westwood’s behaviour towards young black women he met through his work in the music industry had circulated on social media for some time.

The 64-year-old DJ was an early champion of hip-hop in the UK and hosted the first nationally-broadcast rap show on UK radio from 1994.

After almost 20 years on Radio 1 and Radio 1 Xtra, he left the corporation in 2013 to take on a Saturday night show on Capital XTRA, where he was referred to as “The Big Dawg”. He stepped down from that role following the claims against him, and cancelled events he was due to attend.

The son of Bill Westwood, the former Anglican Bishop of Peterborough who died in 1999, Westwood was injured in a drive-by shooting in Kennington, South London, in July 1999, which left him in hospital.

Often cited as an inspiration for Sacha Baron Cohen’s fictional Ali G character, as well as his career in radio, he presented the MTV UK car makeover show Pimp My Ride UK, which ran for three seasons from 2005 to 2007.

Sky News has contacted Westwood for comment.

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