BBC sees ‘spike’ in cases of harassment

PA

The BBC said that he is dealing with a “spike” in complaints of sexual harassment.

The deputy director-general, told the Mps there had been a recent increase in the number of cases after the BBC encouraged staff to come forward.

Anne Bulford said that the corporation is currently investigating 25 people for alleged sexual harassment.

Last year only three cases were investigated, with only one case in each of the previous two years.

In a statement, the BBC said: “From Harvey Weinstein’s revelations, we have been actively encouraging staff to discuss any concerns.

“We hope that the employers are doing the same thing, and when the allegations, we have established processes to investigate.”

Anne Bulford said to the house of Commons, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select Committee that the BBC is looking for “25 live cases”.

However, not all are designed to interact with the current staff. A number of the complaints are believed to be historical, involving people who have worked for the BBC or third parties associated with the BBC in the past.

The deputy director-general, said: “We have to continue to encourage people to talk to. If you are current or if they are historical in connection with the sexual harassment, what is important is that people come forward.”

Ms Bulford also confirmed that the issues raised by the staff that works with independent production companies and third party providers would be supported by the BBC’s confidential helpline, which was set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Director-general Tony Hall said: “as far as the harassment, intimidation, and the… the sexual harassment is going, we must have zero tolerance. That means making it as easy as possible to do the very difficult thing of getting to the front and to the call of behavior.”

Asked how many staff are currently suspended pending an investigation into sexual harassment, the BBC responded: “we cannot comment on individuals, but treating the allegations seriously and have processes in place for the investigation of them.”

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