Reports Point Fingers In BBC Prank Call Controversy
November 24, 2008 at 5:01 AM (PT)
The BBC's internal report on the RUSSELL BRAND-JONATHAN ROSS prank call controversy that led to BRAND's exit and ROSS' suspension lays the blame on management, specifically a "failure of editorial judgment" by former BBC RADIO 2 controller LESLEY DOUGLAS and Head of Compliance DAVE BARBER, and a breakdown in communication over the call to actor ANDREW SACHS, according to the GUARDIAN.
The report details the series of events that led to the call being aired, including Producer NIC PHILPS raising concern about ROSS saying that BRAND "f--ked" SACHS' granddaughter GEORGIA BAILLIE and suggesting that it be edited out but saying that it was "the crux of the call and is VERY funny." BARBER relayed the comment to DOUGLAS but said he thought the comment should air with a "strong language" warning at the top of the hour, and DOUGLAS e-mailed "Yes" back to him.
In another report by the BBC TRUST, the panel overseeing the BBC called the bit "grossly offensive" and said that nobody at the BBC realized that SACHS had filed a complaint about the incident and therefore incorrectly denied that he had done so. The TRUST said that the BBC's already-imposed sanctions, including ROSS' three month unpaid suspension, were adequate. However, it identified two other incidents, one with ROSS on his TV show telling GWYNETH PALTROW he would "f-ck her" and another with BRAND, three days after the SACHS prank call airing, visiting RADIO 1's CHRIS MOYLES show and continuing to joke about BAILLIE by saying that he had met her and he had "met her brains out," which it considered offensive and showing a lack of editorial control.