BBC reveals “spike” in sexual harassment allegations

As the corporation encourages more people to come forward, there are now 25 live complaints being investigated by the BBC

BBC Broadcasting House

The BBC is dealing with a “spike” in complaints of sexual harassment in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

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The deputy director general Anne Bulford told MPs that the corporation is currently investigating 25 individuals for allegations of sexual harassment. By contrast, just three cases were investigated last year, one in 2015 and one in 2014.

In a statement, the BBC told BBC News: “Since the Harvey Weinstein revelations, we’ve been actively encouraging staff to come forward with any concerns.

“We hope other employers are doing the same, and when allegations are made, we have well-established processes to investigate.”

On Tuesday Bulford revealed to the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee that the BBC is examining “25 live cases”.

BBC Deputy Director General Anne Bulford
Deputy Director General Anne Bulford (BBC)

She added: “We have to continue to encourage people to speak. Whether they’re current or whether they’re historic in relation to sexual harassment, the important thing is people come forward.”

Some of these cases may be historic, involving ex-employees – and cases could also include people working with independent production companies used by the BBC. The BBC has a confidential helpline which was set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Director general Tony Hall commented: “As far as harassment, bullying and… sexual harassment goes, we should have zero tolerance. That means making it as easy as possible to do the very difficult thing of coming forwards and calling out behaviour.”

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Details of staff who are currently suspended pending investigation have not been revealed.