Since the allegations of rampant sexual abuse perpetrated by one of Britain’s most famous TV personalities came to light, Mark Thompson, one-time chief of the BBC and now the CEO of The New York Times, said he knew nothing about the scandal. Now, however, he admits he had a “brief conversation” about the scandal before it became public.
Thompson was the head of the BBC from 2004 to 2011, but for decades before that, TV presenter Jimmy Savile was allegedly sexually exploiting young teenaged fans, often, it is claimed, with the knowledge and assistance of BBC operatives.
All during the various internal BBC investigations as well as investigations by the British government and its police agencies, then-BBC chief Thompson maintained that he never knew anything about the ongoing sex scandal.
But during his tenure as the chief of the BBC, critics allege that Thompson–or at least someone in his office–nixed an investigatory TV show that was going to blow the sex scandal wide open, suggesting that Thompson, or at least his office, did know about the coming scandal.
In September of 2012, Thompson resigned as head of the BBC to take the job as CEO of The New York Times. Even as he did so, he continued to claim he never knew anything about the sex scandal, telling the paper the same when being interviewed for the job.
Now he is changing his tune.
In a new interview with BBC’s Channel 4, Thompson admits that he did have a “brief conversation” about the Savile situation before it became public knowledge.
Thompson told Channel 4 reporter Miles Goslett: “Let’s be clear, there was a very brief conversation between Helen Boaden and myself… we had slightly different recollections about this conversation.”
Thompson claims that during the government’s Pollard investigation, this “brief conversation” was revealed but that it wasn’t important enough to hang up the former BBC chief.
Regardless, this new admission seems to go against the claim that Thompson has made in the past saying that he had no idea about the sex scandal.