The journalist who first published allegations about star BBC presenter Chris Evans has spoken about the BBC’s “poor history of dealing with these situations”.
Miles Goslett (pictured) was a freelance journalist when, in 2012, he wrote a piece in The Oldie revealing that the BBC had spiked a report revealing widespread sexual assault allegations against the late DJ Jimmy Savile.
He was made UK editor of News Corp-owned website Heatstreet in April this year and shortly afterwards began publishing stories about Evans (who was named as the new host of BBC One’s lucrative motoring TV show Top Gear in June 2015).
On Saturday, the site reported that Evans was being investigated by police over an allegation of a sexual offence and this week the DJ and TV presenter said he would not be returning for a second series of Top Gear.
Goslett told Press Gazette: “An MP wrote to [BBC director general] Tony Hall about all these issues surrounding Evans in May and Hall’s response shows he was completely relaxed about all of this stuff. In one sense I’m not surprised because the BBC has a pretty poor history of dealing with these situations.
“Heat Street has published a series of stories since April about the claims that have been made against Chris Evans and Tony Hall knew about them.
“I find that difficult to square with the way Tony Blackburn was forced out in February.
“He was dismissed merely because he said he had no recollection of attending a meeting in the 1970s relating to an allegation he had sex with a 15-year-old girl.”
In April Heat Street reported widespread anecdotes about Evans’ former penchant for exposing himself to TV colleagues.
Then, on 5 May, Goslett published an interview with a former business partner of Evans who has known him for 30 years, who claimed there was “a paper trail which details specific complaints about Chris’s inappropriate behaviour [at the BBC] and yet they’ve done nothing about that”.
In May, Heat Street carried another interview with a former colleague of Evans who claimed he regularly exposed himself to her at work in the 1990s and that she had made a statement to a lawyer.
Then Andrew Bridgen MP wrote to the BBC seeking an urgent investigation into the claims against Evans, who is believed to be one the corporation’s highest paid entertainers.
This was followed up on the front page of The Sun on Sunday and on Monday, Evans revealed that he was resigning from Top Gear.
On stepping from Top Gear, Evans said in a statement: “I have never worked with a more committed and driven team than the team I have worked with over the last twelve months. I feel like my standing aside is the single best thing I can now do to help the cause. I remain a huge fan of the show, always have been, always will be. I will continue to focus on my radio show and the allied events that it encompasses.”
Goslett said the BBC has always declined to comment on questions about Evans’ behaviour.
In response to coverage in The Sun, in April Radio 2 controller Bob Shennan and BBC Studios director Mark Linsey said: “The assertion that Chris Evans’ behaviour at Radio 2 since beginning work at Top Gear has been in any way below BBC acceptable levels is completely untrue.
“The Sun, for its own reasons, continues on a weekly, sometimes daily basis to publish negative stories about Top Gear and unfounded nonsense about Chris, which is no longer worth any serious consideration or response.”