BBC Director General George Entwistle resigns after broadcasting false child abuse accusations

BBC | The Guardian | The Telegraph
BBC Director General George Entwistle resigned Saturday, in the wake of a “Newsnight” story that led to led to false accusations of child sex abuse by ex-senior Tory Lord McAlpine.

Entwistle, who served in his position for less than two months, said his resignation was the “honorable” thing to do. He announced his resignation in a statement delivered outside New Broadcasting House.

As director general, Entwistle was also the editor in chief and responsible for the news organization’s content. Entwistle previously told John Humphrys on BBC Radio 4′s “Today” program that he knew nothing about the McAlpine story before it was broadcast Nov. 2.

The Telegraph reports, “it took the BBC 12 hours to apologise on Friday for its error even though Steve Messham, the man who mistakenly believed Lord McAlpine was his abuser, phoned the corporation to say he had made an error.”

Entwistle’s stint goes on the books as the shortest term for a BBC director general in the organization’s 90-year history.

Entwistle announced his resignation in central London, Saturday Nov. 10, 2012. (Max Nash/AP)

Entwistle was questioned in October for his judgment regarding another “Newsnight” investigation. The BBC dropped a story in December 2011 that would have broadcast information incriminating TV host Jimmy Savile, who died last year, of sexually abusing young girls.

Savile was alleged to have sexually abused multiple minors on the BBC’s property in the 1970s and 1980s; the story never aired.

Entwistle’s predecessor, Mark Thompson, has also been questioned about the story. Thompson is scheduled to start Monday as CEO of The New York Times.

Tim Davie, the BBC’s director of audio and music, will serve as acting director general.

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