BBC Director General and Two Other Top BBC Execs Step Down Over Erroneous Sex Abuse Report CNN, The Guardian, NY Times
The director general of the BBC resigned Saturday after controversy surfaced over a report that aired false claims by a sex abuse victim, reports CNN.com.
George Entwistle, who held the post for only 54 days, resigned after the BBC wrongly implicated a former senior politician, Lord McAlpine, in a story about child abuse, according to The Guardian.
"In the light of the fact that the director general is also the editor in chief and ultimately responsible for all content; and in the light of the unacceptable journalistic standards of the 'Newsnight' film broadcast on Friday 2 November, I have decided that the honourable thing to do is to step down from the post of director general," Entwistle said in a statement.
He read the statement in London, with the BBC Trust's chairman, Chris Patten, by his side, according to the story.
Entwistle had said earlier on a radio program that he had been unaware "Newsnight" was going to make a serious allegation about a senior politician, prompting some criticism that he was failing to remain on top of the broadcaster, the story notes.
He came under more pressure Friday, when McAlpine said the allegation was false and threatened to sue the BBC.
The crisis deepened today as two additional senior BBC executives stepped down temporarily, reports The New York Times.
The BBC's director of news, Helen Boaden, and her deputy, Stephen Mitchell, stepped aside, the story notes.
The BBC is separately investigating an earlier incident involving "Newsnight" in which the program canceled an episode concerning allegations of sexual abuse by longtime BBC host Jimmy Savile.
The BBC said it expects Boaden and Mitchell to return to their roles once the Savile inquiry is completed, the story adds.
Lord Patten said Sunday that the BBC is in a "ghastly mess" and described the scandal as marked by "unacceptably shoddy journalism," the piece adds.