The BBC’s Director-General, George Entwistle, resigned on Saturday night, just one day after a report emerged that the station’s flagship current affairs aired a report accusing a former Conservative politician of sexual abuse because of a flawed interview.
Entwistle has been the BBC’s top executive for just over 50 days, but announced his resignation in light of the botched report, which aired on November 2 on the BBC’s Newsnight program, reports The Wall Street Journal.
An alleged sexual-abuse victim who was the main source of the November 2 report announced that he had wrongly identified his attacker as the politician. Entwistle stated during a televised statement on Saturday night:
“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, Nov. 2, I have decided that the honorable thing to do is to step down from the post of Director-General.”
USA Today notes that George Entwistle’s statement was a complete reverse from an interview aired earlier Saturday where the 23-year BBC veteran insisted he had no plans to resign, despite questions regarding his leadership and the BBC’s integrity as a result of the scandal.
Lawmaker John Whittingdale, who chairs a committee in parliament about the news media, stated of the scandal and Entwistle’s choice:
“I think that what has happened in the last few days has immensely weakened his authority and credibility. It would have been very difficult for him to continue in those circumstances.”
George Entwistle took over the BBC from Mark Thompson two months ago. Thompson is set to become chief executive of The NEw York Times Co. this month.