DJ Tony Blackburn has said that he plans to sue the BBC after accusing the corporation of ‘hanging him out to dry’ by sacking him on the eve of the long-awaited Savile report.
The BBC’s director general said that the corporation had “parted company” with Tony Blackburn because the evidence he gave to the Jimmy Savile sex abuse inquiry “fell short” of the standards required.
Lord Hall said that, while he made no judgment on any claims about past behaviour, he must take “extremely seriously” Dame Janet Smith’s rejection of the veteran DJ’s evidence.
The 73-year-old claimed he had been sacked because his evidence to Smith showed that a cover-up, of which he had no knowledge, had taken place. He claims that his sacking, had been a decision taken, personally, by the BBC’s director general.
In a statement Blackburn said the Dame Janet Smith report included allegations from 1971 that he, among other celebrities, seduced a 15-year-old girl. Blackburn denies the allegation and says he had been was cleared of any wrongdoing.
He accuses the BBC of making him a “scapegoat” for its own “cover-up” of abuse
— Tony Blackburn (@tonyblackburn) February 24, 2016
“Dame Janet’s report makes no suggestion that I was guilty 45 years ago of any misconduct whatsoever with this girl” he said
“Nor did a coroner’s inquest or a subsequent police inquiry into her death. The BBC have made clear that they are not terminating my relationship with them because of any misconduct. They are destroying my career and reputation because my version of events does not tally with theirs”
Blackburn denied that he had ever been made aware by the BBC of a complaint against him by a teenager in 1971 even though the corporation told the inquiry he had been.
Dame Janet Smith, in her inquiry report, said she ‘preferred’ the evidence that Blackburn was in fact interviewed by BBC officials about the complaint despite his denial
On Thursday Blackburn issues a new statement saying:
“I have listened to what has been said by Tony Hall and others today in connection with the publication of the Dame Janet Smith Report.
“I repeat what I told Dame Janet when I voluntary gave evidence to assist her and the BBC. What I said in my earlier statement regarding the alleged meetings with Brian Neill QC and Bill Cotton Junior 45 years ago still stands.
“Given Dame Janet Smith’s concerns of a culture of fear in coming forward at the BBC, the fact that I have been scapegoated for giving my honest account and best recollections of those events 45 years ago – which I felt was a whitewash – what whistleblower at the BBC would ever come forward when they see the way they have hung me out to dry.
“Sadly today’s news agenda should have been about the survivors of abuse carried out within the BBC but, by sacking me, they have managed to take the focus off those who have suffered so much.
“My lawyers are now considering all statements made by the BBC about me today and we will be taking action.”
He also thanked those who had supported him
Good morning,I just want to say thanks so much for your overwhelming support it means a lot to me. xxx
— Tony Blackburn (@tonyblackburn) February 25, 2016