Veteran radio host and DJ Tim Westwood has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct in new reports this week.
He “strongly rejects all allegations of wrongdoing” and resigned from his Capital Xtra “until further notice” on Wednesday.
Here is everything you need to know.
Where did the accusations come from?
According to a joint investigation by the BBC and The Guardian, Westwood has been accused of abusing his powerful position. All of the allegations published in the investigation this week come from Black women in the music industry.
Three women accused Westwood of opportunistic and predatory sexual behavior, while four others alleged that he groped them at events when they were in their teens or 20s.
All of the incidents reportedly occurred between 1992 and 2017.
Two of the women claim he initiated unwanted and unexpected sexual relations, while another said she was subjected to unwanted oral sex and four others accused him of inappropriately touching their bodies while posing for photos with him.
The accusers do not know each other. According to the BBC, “some work in the music industry and fear repercussions.”
One woman told the station: “I would describe it as an abuse of power because… who are they going to believe? This girl from the Midlands or this big shining star from London? She is on national, international radio.”
The seven women, who claim to have met Westwood through his work, chose to remain anonymous. His allegations were revealed in a BBC Three documentary, Tim Westwood: Abuse of Power, which aired Tuesday at 9 p.m.
None of the women who spoke to the BBC have reported the incidents to the police. They said they would come forward to make sure Westwood is “accountable” for her behavior and to encourage others to come forward.
Who is Westwood?
Westwood, 64, began his hip hop career on local radio, before moving to Capital Radio in London. He then secured his own show on BBC Radio 1 in 1994, where he hosted the first nationally broadcast rap show. Since then he has become an influential figure in the world of hip-hop.
He left the BBC in 2013 and returned to Capital where, until Wednesday, he presented regular Capital Xtra shows on Saturday nights.
How has Westwood responded?
A representative for the DJ told the PA news agency: “Tim Westwood strongly denies all allegations of inappropriate behavior.
“In a career that has spanned 40 years, there has never been any complaint against him officially or unofficially.
“Tim Westwood strongly rejects all allegations of wrongdoing.”
Since then, three of his planned DJ sets have been canceled and the events page of his website has been removed, which had further UK events planned for the next month.
What is the story behind these claims?
Aside from Westwood’s status in the music industry, this case has caused a particular stir because it’s not the first time concerns have been raised about the DJ.
HuffPost UK had an exclusive in July 2020 about the pressure Global Media, Capital’s parent company, was facing to launch an investigation into Westwood’s conduct at the time.
Global was heavily criticized (including by its own staff) for not addressing the claims publicly and for keeping the Westwood show going when allegations of sexual misconduct against Westwood first surfaced.
In 2020, a source told HuffPost UK: “Many brand presenters are uncomfortable with the situation and executives have personally told staff not to speak to the media, which is unprecedented.”
The exclusive followed an online hashtag that emerged in June called #SurvivingTimWestwood, when news of the claims against the DJ spread.
The allegations also prompted a change.org petition calling on the Mayor of London and the Metropolitan Police to launch an investigation into Westwood’s alleged behavior towards black female students. It accumulated more than 6,000 signatures.
However, the Met was unable to explain whether it had launched an investigation into the DJ.
Westwood strongly denied the allegations at the time.
He told HuffPost UK: “I can say categorically that I have never been in an inappropriate relationship with anyone under the age of 18. I am aware of attempts by anonymous sources to make fabricated accusations online. I can confirm that such accusations are false and baseless.”
A representative for Westwood told HuffPost UK that no complaints had been received against him at Capital Xtra, although an unnamed producer at Global alleged in 2020 that staff were “outraged” at the company’s “silence”.
Several black British public figures also contributed to the Westwood conversation, such as presenter Grace Victory and DJ Funk Butcher.
Westwood’s partner in the hip hop industry, the late rapper Ty Chijioke, also formerly he referred to the veteran DJ as a vulture in reference to his behavior with young fans.
Speaking to the BBC during the 2022 inquest, one of the women accusers of Westwood said: “Finally people’s accusations are starting to be taken seriously.”
What have the BBC and Capital said?
BBC director general Tim Davie said he had not found any evidence of complaints about Westwood when he worked there.
He said: “I have asked and we have looked at our records and we have seen no evidence.
“If something like that comes up or something comes up, we thoroughly investigate it. And I hope that we are also doing it at that time.
“I would just say if people have evidence that things weren’t followed up, or if they have concerns in this area, bring them to us. We want to investigate it.”
He called the testimonies “shocking” and encouraged people to present “evidence of misconduct” because “there is nothing worse in life than the abuse of power.”
He added: “You have to be absolutely clear that it is completely unacceptable.”
A spokesman for Capital’s parent company, Global, confirmed on Wednesday that “following claims that have come to light recently, Tim Westwood has withdrawn from his show until further notice.”