The New York Times defended incoming chief, Mark Thompson, who had full support despite a sexual abuse scandal which had blown up at Britain’s BBC network, where Thompson was in charge until only a month ago.
Thompson toldReuters in a phone interview in New York that his handling of the issue should not keep him beginning his new job with the Times.
Although the New York Times had given Thompson their full support, many are still skeptical about his fitness for his new position. Also British lawmakers still have questions for the new chief, the Associated Pressreports.
The scandal surrounding Thomas involves the BBC’s decision during Thompson’s’ last days-to halt what would have been a massive story investigating allegations of the late Jimmy Savile, one of the broadcaster’s biggest stars, who is thought to have sexually abused nearly 200 children.
Thompson wrote a letter to lawmakers saying he had never known Savile’s story and had in fact never met the star.
The New York Times spokesman Bob Christie, said the scandal had obviously been discussed:
“Obviously been a topic that we’ve discussed [internally]…Mark has done an excellent job of explaining the matter, we’re satisfied with that.”
Savile’s scandal has alarmed Britain. The children’s television presenter is alleged to have coerced teens into having sex with him in multiple locations, including dressing rooms in the studio. Also, he is accused of sexually assaulting disabled children while in hospitals to raise money for charity.
Many BBC executives are being scrutinized to find out exactly how much they knew about Savile. Since 2004 until last month, Thompson had served as BBC’s director-general.
Thomas told the New York Times, the evidence which was presented by the”Newsnight” program to BBC executives was not sufficient enough and did not meet journalistic standards:
“I had no reason to believe that his conduct was a pressing concern. Had I known about the nature of the allegations and the credible allegations that these horrific crimes had taken place during his time at the BBC and in the building at the BBC, I of course would have considered them very grave and would have acted very differently.”
Although the New York Times does not want to mire itself in scandal, a new chief is necessary to replace Janet Robinson who resigned last December.