British DJ and radio host Tim Westwood has been accused of harassment. Seven black women said that using their position in the music industry, Westwood harassed them and inclined them to have sex. The DJ left his show less than 24 hours after the allegations became known.
A joint investigation by the BBC and the Guardian has published the stories of seven women who said they faced Westwood’s misconduct between 1992 and 2017.
Tim Westwood, now 64, has hosted a Saturday night show on Capital Xtra’s hip-hop radio station for the past nine years. From 1994 to 2013, he hosted programs on BBC Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra.
The DJ is known for providing a platform for young performers, and guests of his programs were almost all the stars of world hip-hop – from Eminem to Cardi Bee.
For his own sets, Westwood chose the pseudonym Big Dawg, under which he performed in nightclubs across the UK and abroad. In parallel with the radio show, Westwood ran his own YouTube channel.
Less than 24 hours after the investigation aired, Tim Westwood left his show on Capital Xtra, Global Radio, which owns the station, said. Two of his upcoming DJ sets in Birmingham and Bognor Regis have also been canceled.
Tim Westwood categorically denies the allegations, his spokesman called them completely false.
“In his 40-year career, there have never been any complaints against him, officially or unofficially. Tim Westwood strongly denies all allegations of wrongdoing,” a spokesman for the DJ said.
What Westwood is accused of
Women who told their stories to BBC and Guardian journalists in the BBC Three documentary “Tim Westwood: Abuse of Power” accused the DJ of “predatory sexual behavior” – in particular, that he touched their private parts without permission and encouraged him to enter into an intimate relationship with him, abusing his high status in the music industry.
They are all black, and they all got to know Westwood through his work. Prior to this investigation, they did not know each other.
According to them, they met with Westwood, sometimes coming to London by train from remote towns, in the hope that it would help boost their musical careers. Instead, he said, he brought them to his apartment, where he began to harass them and eventually inclined them to intimate relationships, although they did not initially want to.
The women said that such an attitude on his part deeply traumatized them, leaving an imprint on their entire lives.
One of the women, Tamara (the names of the accusers were changed to protect their privacy) met the DJ in 1992, when she was 17 years old. At the time, she was a member of an R&B group.
IN interview The Guardian, after the release of the documentary, said she was glad Westwood had to leave her show and their voices were heard, although, as she put it, the “deafening silence” of the first 24 hours after the investigation made her think the consequences were not will be.
“Now I think the accusations were too loud and numerous for his show to continue. The thought of him continuing to show regularly on Saturdays was just awful to me,” she said.
Another woman, Pamela (name changed), criticized the BBC for giving Westwood the status, notoriety and position it abused and which it claims contributed to its behavior.
“He’s such a big public figure, and you’re just a girl from a small town. Who will people believe?” she says.
She also noted that she was disappointed, but not surprised by the criticism of her and other women who decided to tell their stories to journalists. According to her, in the comments to the investigation, people write that the women did it for the sake of attention and money.
“But I think those who wrote it were just the worst students in the class,” Pamela said.
What was the reaction of the public
BBC Director-General Tim Davy called the women’s testimony “strong and appalling” and urged all those who have faced harassment and evidence to remain silent.
Davey said he found no evidence that the corporation had complained about the DJ when he worked for the BBC.
At the same time, he assured that if someone has evidence that the DJ abused his position while working in the corporation, they will be considered.
“If something comes up, we’re fully investigating it. If people have evidence that we didn’t follow something, bring it to us,” said Tim Davy. “We’ll check anything and dig, dig. and dig. “
British hip-hop pioneer Debbie Price, a former member of the rap duo Cookie Crew from South London, said it was time for an honest and open conversation about Westwood’s reputation and his relationship with African-American music.
“Our culture, our music, our creativity – everything that concerns us has been instilled by the bearers of a different culture for generations, and I think people are very, very tired. They are exhausted,” she said.
Andrea Simon, director of the Coalition to Combat Violence against Women, said that no woman should be afraid to report her experiences just because she may not be believed.
“But we know very well that this is a common story for black women and all those who face racial discrimination in the justice system, which is often opposed to them,” she said.