BBC plunged into another sex scandal

Director general leaves over abuse fiasco

GMT 08:55 2012 Sunday ,11 November

Arab Today, arab today Director general leaves over abuse fiasco

BBC's director general, George Entwistle
London - Arabstoday

BBC's director general, George Entwistle The BBC was yet in another scandal on Sunday after its director general dramatically quit over a broadcast by the British broadcaster’s flagship news show that wrongly accused a politician child sex abuse. George Entwistle’s resignation, after just two months in the job, came after the BBC was engulfed by the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Savile was alleged to have been a serial sex offender, sources said.
"The wholly exceptional events of the past few weeks have led me to conclude that the BBC should appoint a new leader," Entwistle said on Saturday.
"To have been the director-general of the BBC even for a short period and in the most challenging of circumstances, has been a great honour," he said.
The 50-year-old's leadership is the shortest in the BBC's history, sources said.
Entwistle announced his resignation the day after the BBC's Newsnight was forced to apologise for wrongly implicating a senior Conservative party figure in abuse at a Welsh children's home in the 1970s.
He said that although he was not aware of last week's Newsnight report before it was aired, quitting was "the honourable thing to do" since he was the BBC's editor-in-chief and ultimately responsible for all content.
This crisis was described as one of the deepest in the BBC's 90-year history, sources said.
Earlier on Saturday, Entwistle had said it was "fundamentally wrong" of Newsnight to air an interview with a man claiming he was repeatedly abused at a children's home in the 1970s by a senior Conservative politician.
The programme last week did not identify the politician, but he was widely named on the Internet as former Tory party treasurer Alistair McAlpine, a former aide to Margaret Thatcher.
McAlpine went public on Friday to strongly deny the allegations and in a serious blow to Newsnight's prestigious reputation his accuser Steve Messham then retracted his claims, saying McAlpine was a victim of mistaken identity.
Entwistle, who first joined the BBC in 1989, was appointed as director-general on September 17 and had spent his short time at the top dealing with the fall-out from the Savile scandal.
Both Newsnight and Entwistle have come under scrutiny after it emerged that the programme had last year dropped an investigation into the Savile abuse claims.
As director of BBC Vision at the time, Entwistle was in charge of all television output when the Savile report was axed. He also came under fire for deciding to proceed with a Christmas tribute to the late DJ.
Entwistle, who edited Newsnight himself a decade ago, admitted on Saturday that the corporation faced a "crisis of trust" over the two sex abuse rows.
Standing alongside Entwistle as he made his resignation statement, BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten said it was "one of the saddest evenings of my public life."
But Newsnight anchor Jeremy Paxman said Entwistle had been "brought low by cowards and incompetents."
"I had hoped that George might stay to sort this out. It is a great pity that a talented man has been sacrificed," he said.

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