NYT public editor: What did Thompson know?
October 24, 2012
Mark Thompson was chosen as the new chief executive officer of The New York Times weeks ago, well before the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal exploded.
But Thompson is the former head of the BBC, where Savile worked and which allegedly engaged in a cover-up of allegations against the once-beloved children’s host, and that’s causing many to wonder whether he should ascend to his new job, including the Times’ very own public editor.
Yesterday Margaret Sullivan, the de facto ombudsman of the paper, wrote a blog post about the BBC scandal and the involvement of Thompson, who officially starts his new job Nov. 12 but was in New York this week to take meetings.
“How likely is it that he knew nothing?” she wondered, urging further investigation into Thompson’s knowledge of the alleged cover-up.
More than a dozen women have come forward saying they were abused or raped by Savile, who died last year.
A “Newsnight” investigation into the matter was allegedly squelched, and the editor of the show has stepped down.
Thompson told The Times in a story yesterday that he had done nothing to “impede my ability” to take on his new post, as the British government pushes an investigation into the matter.
“During my time as director general of the BBC, I never heard any allegations or received any complaints about Jimmy Savile,” he said.
But London’s Guardian newspaper notes that a spokesman for Thompson told a different story to the Times of London, saying, “Mark attended a party late last year where a journalist mentioned the fact that Newsnight had been investigating Savile. The journalist said words to the effect that ‘You must be worried about the Newsnight investigation.’”
Tags: bbc, bbc scandal, chief executive officer, jimmy savile, london, mark thompson, New York, new york times, new york times ceo, nyt, own, the Times of London, time, Times of London, Yesterday Margaret Sullivan
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