The BBC is investigating 25 sexual harassment cases after receiving a “spike” in complaints in the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, according to two of the corporation’s most senior executives.
The British public broadcaster is working through more than two dozen live sexual harassments, according to Deputy Director General Anne Bulford.
“After the Weinstein material was published we reminded staff again of the procedures,” Bulford told British MPs as part of a House of Commons committee. “All the time we are encouraging people to step forward if that is the right thing to do. You perhaps won’t be surprised to know that we have a spike at present. We have a spike, more cases than we have seen over the last three years.”
This is thought to include the case of Radio 5 Live presenter George Riley, the Radio 5 Live presenter who was suspended after a number of complaints from women.
Former Channel 4 executive Bulford, who was appearing in front of the Department of Culture, Media, Sport and Digital committee alongside Director General Tony Hall, added: “We have to deal with cases as they come up and continue to encourage people to speak. Whether they are current or historic in relation to sexual harassment the important thing is people come forward.”
Hall admitted that the broadcaster had a zero-tolerance approach to harassment.
“As far as harassment and bullying, and I would extend that to sexual harassment too, we should have zero tolerance,” he said. “That means to make it as easy as possible to do the very difficult thing and come forward and call out behaviour that is not acceptable.”
This comes after BBC staff reported in May that the corporation had made small improvements in the way that it dealt with issues of bullying, harassment and inappropriate behaviour, as well as its recruitment processes.
As part of an annual survey of its staff, 75% said that they knew where to find information and support if they experienced harassment, up from 72% last year.
Earlier today, it was revealed that an eighth woman made a formal complaint to Scotland Yard over an alleged sexual assault against Weinstein.