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Reply to my letter to the BBC re Karen White and Jimmy Savile

(77 Posts)
Sarahjconnor Fri 30-Nov-18 19:28:29

I hope that some wise women have time to help me digest this reply to my letter to the BBC. I am pleased they have taken it seriously but they clearly don't understand that calling a rapist 'she' and referring to them using preferred pronouns is traumatic for any victim of sexual assault, I think it is gaslighting victims.
I have redacted bits that would 'out' me or reveal personal things that I feel are too difficult for me.
I will put it on a separate post so below. Thank you

Sarahjconnor Fri 30-Nov-18 19:33:22

Thank you for your recent letter to Tony Hall.
Part of my role is to monitor the implementation of the Dame Janet Smith reforms, and it is in that capacity that I am replying on behalf of the Director-General. I wanted to make sure that you received a full response, and I am sorry for the time that’s taken.
At the outset, we are very grateful to you for taking the time to share your account with the Dame Janet Smith Review. I do not underestimate how hard it must have been to describe again what was clearly an extremely distressing experience. We appreciate your courage in coming forward to speak with the Review.
In response to your comment on what has been done to prevent anything like that happening again, the BBC previously published the work we have undertaken to address Dame Janet Smith’s findings and to reaffirm our commitment to learning from the past and to continually build on our progress.
I am very concerned to hear you say that you feel the BBC is misogynistic and, as I understand, you feel this applies to both our output and general culture. We take such concerns seriously. I would like to assure you that the BBC shares your opposition to prejudice and discrimination. The BBC seeks to lead the way in creating a fully inclusive culture which values women’s contributions and supports women to succeed. As part of that work the BBC recently published a report on career progression and culture for gender equality at the BBC which you can find here
There is also a pan-BBC women’s network for the development and progression of women at the BBC and to support the BBC’s aim of achieving a gender balanced workforce at all levels by 2020.
Further, we are committed to ensuring that everyone who works for, or is engaged with, the BBC has a safe place in which to work. We are determined that the BBC has a workplace culture where sexual harassment and bullying is not only intolerable, but also eliminated – and we actively encourage our employees to call out where they see instances where this is happening.
In respect of your concerns about our editorial content, if you are able to provide further information about the programmes or news articles which you think illustrates your
complaint about misogyny in our output, we would be keen to look into this and provide you with a considered response. For editorial complaints such as this, please use the form on our website to raise a formal complaint and we will ensure that these are appropriately investigated in line with our agreed process. Full details of this are on our website at the following address:
With regard to the reference in your letter to women’s rights campaigner Karen Ingala Smith being referred to as a ‘TERF’ on iPlayer, I understand from the Politics Live team that the programme was not endorsing the term, but actually reporting on its widespread use. I believe that the production team has already contacted her directly and explained they did not intend to use the term as a label.
As you also referenced Woman’s Hour, we asked the Editor to respond to the comments you made about the programme, and she has asked me to share with you the following points.
On Woman’s Hour, when talking about Karen White, we have referred to her as ‘she’, as we use the pronoun that the person chooses. We have never interviewed Karen White on Woman’s Hour, but we did mention the issue during our coverage of the Gender Recognition Act consultation on 16 October.
As a general point, we always ask guests how they would like to be described on air. This can relate to various sorts of title – for example, Mrs or Ms, or Dame/Sir, or Doctor – and is often used to clarify their preferred description of a job title. The same is true regarding guests’ gender identity, be it trans or non-binary – we ask them how they would like to be described. Using a specific pronoun is just an introduction and doesn’t influence the quality of the analysis or debate around an issue (such as rape victims’ right to honest testimony).
On Woman’s Hour the testimony of women talking about their experiences is always at the heart of our editorial content and is given the highest priority. We regularly hear from women who are survivors of rape, domestic violence and other crimes against women.
On the specific point about how the Fair Play organisation has been described by the BBC, I thought it might be helpful for you to know that we included Fair Play in our Gender Recognition Act consultation discussion on 16 October, where Dr Nicola Williams took part and was introduced as, “spokeswoman for the campaign group Fair Play to Women”.
I would like to be very clear that Woman’s Hour has not been silenced on this issue. The programme has a long history of covering issues relating to transgender. In addition to the programme mentioned above, we recently discussed the rise in referrals of children to gender dysphoria clinics.
We are also currently featuring a series called Sex and Gender. This series is examining and debating in detail some of the current issues – for example, why the debate has become so toxic, how the Equality Act protects women and where the gaps might be, the impact on safe spaces for women, women in sport, and several other issues.
Page 2 of 3
Thank you for taking the time to write, and I hope that this response has been of some help to you. I can assure you that we treat your concerns with the utmost seriousness.
Yours sincerely,
Sarah Gregory HR Director

IstanbulConstan Fri 30-Nov-18 19:39:36

Karen White wasn't on air, so how do they know what pronouns they are using at present, clearest for informing the public is to provide all names and genders that the person has convictions under.

Staff aren't happy about the facilities.

IstanbulConstan Fri 30-Nov-18 19:43:05

What are they doing about staff that are smug whilst in a sketch about sexism then use coercive control (BBC want a national discussion on coercive control) over another sex class and refuse to allow a protected characteristic class use the Language of choice to describe themselves?

VickyEadie Fri 30-Nov-18 19:50:23

Still waiting to a reply to my last complaint- though I got a 'we know you're waiting email a month ago.

LurkingWaspi Fri 30-Nov-18 20:49:43

I'd be interested in knowing how Sarah Gregory/BBC managed to ask Karen White about "preferred pronouns". Did they ring the prison?
Given the FACT that KW is a multiple convicted rapist, using the word " she" is an oxymoron surely?

Sarahjconnor Fri 30-Nov-18 21:04:21

@Lurkingwaspi that is my thought exactly.

Sarahjconnor Fri 30-Nov-18 21:08:16

It was @Datun who I said I would post the reply on the thread above

ReallyHadEnoughOfThisNow Fri 30-Nov-18 21:21:25

"There is also a pan-BBC women’s network for the development and progression of women at the BBC and to support the BBC’s aim of achieving a gender balanced workforce at all levels by 2020."

That's all lovely, but will Trans Women are included in their ideal of a "gender balanced workforce"? If so, then realistically they might on paper achieve 50/50 equality, or better for 'women', but actually only include a small percentage of people who are natal women (/were born women).

LurkingWaspi Fri 30-Nov-18 21:31:57

Sorry Sarah, I had not read the other thread, I am really appalled.
You have so much courage.
I'm not on FB so can't read the first link.
I agree that it is gaslighting and potentially likely to result in PTSD.

A couple of thoughts and apologies that I am out of the loop.
Did you put it in as a letter or did you put it in as a formal complaint?
If it is a formal complaint there is an appeals process and eventually it ends up at Ofcom.

Personally, I'd write to every MP on the Commons Select Committee for Media and Culture or whatever it is these days ( link) and copy in your own MP with a covering letter.

Especially if, as it seems, the police are being told to record these people as " women" and the Beeb is using this as cover for their own appalling lack of feeling.

Top down, rather than struggling to push your voice upwards.
They can't then claim that they didn't know about this crap.

RepealTheGRA Fri 30-Nov-18 21:33:41

Well done for writing Sarahjconnor the BBC are just embarrassing themselves over ‘pronouns’.

LurkingWaspi Fri 30-Nov-18 21:34:47

Ah just re read again and see that she has referred you to their complaints procedure.
If you feel up to it, escalate it. I'd still copy it to the MPs. It will focus the Beebs mind even though the MPs may initially write back and say you need to use the complaints procedure.
Don't let anyone say they didn't know. flowers

Sarahjconnor Fri 30-Nov-18 21:44:11

here is my letter to them with large sections of personal information redacted:
12 October 2018

Dear Mr Hall
[redacted] my whole life has been set to a soundtrack dominated by the BBC. From Play School to Grange Hill, Top of the Pops to Life on Earth, I have been educated, entertained and informed by your programming. [redacted]. But I am utterly dismayed by your bias and conduct in relation to women and girls safety and mental health, women's rights and feminism.

In 1992 Sir Jimmy Savile tried to assault me [redacted]. I fought him off forcefully and was then physically beaten by his bodyguard/minder. I informed the West Yorkshire Police who refused to investigate and told me I should not tell lies about such a wonderful man. I wrote to the BBC to advise them and did not receive a reply. I showed both the Police and the BBC the bruises on my body and the ripped clothing I had been wearing. A year later, still very troubled by the incident, I wrote again, and this time I received a threatening telephone call from the BBC telling me that if I repeated my 'lies' to anyone else or contacted the BBC again, they would disclose my name, address and telephone number to Jimmy Savile to pursue an investigation into slander. I was terrified and did not contact the Police or BBC again out of fear I would be attacked by Saville.

When I gave evidence at Operation Yewtree I told Dame Janet Smith that the behaviour of the Police and BBC had made me mentally ill and caused PTSD as I have repeatedly relived the experience doubting my own sanity, until ITV broadcast their documentary vindicating victims. Dame Janet apologised on behalf of your organisation and told me that there would be changes to prevent anything like this happening again. I specifically asked what the BBC had done to ensure that predators were not allowed to abuse women and girls whilst receiving it's significant protection in the form of gaslighting and lying.

This rapist [Karen White] was placed in a women's jail as a result of self identification, an act you appear to be entirely supporting. You also refer to Karen White as 'she' which I feel is gaslighting and causing PTSD in his victims. Why are a male rapists preferred pronouns more important than a rape victims right to honest testimony and mental health?

Seeing you refer to Karen White as 'she', and Fair Play for women, an organisation looking after women's rights, an 'anti trans' group and silence your presenters on Women's Hour, I am just appalled. Why do you treat women, particularly vulnerable women like Savile and White's victims with such contempt? Why do you gaslight them and lie to them? Why do you not offer balance and allow debate? You refer to 'school girls being harassed' rather than 'men sexually harassing children' in news articles and until very recently continued using the expression 'child prostitute' in reference to victims of sexual exploitation and abuse.

I wish to complain about your misogyny and ask for a thorough investigation into the misogyny your organisation has displayed towards women, on so many occasions. Personally, you have caused me mental health problems thru your support of Savile and your respectful treatment of male rapist Karen White. That male rapist has no certificate and is not a woman, having never shown any interest in transition, only a disgusting desire to dress a woman, access women's spaces and attack them. Why?

I am also incredibly disappointed at your bullying of women who have tried to debate these issues. A picture of the legendary women's rights campaigner Karen Ingala Smith appeared on your website with the slur 'TERF' across it. This woman dedicates her life to educating people about and preventing male violence but you belittle and humiliate her. You know the risk you put her in when there are so many violent threats made my men and transwomen against ‘TERFS’ Shame on you.

I am appalled by your conduct and offended on behalf of the brilliant minds that have dedicate their lives to your organisation. How can you explain your misogyny?

Yours Sincerely

Sarahjconnor Fri 30-Nov-18 21:44:43

Sorry - to made no sense without my letter. I feel so muddled by it all. Apologies. wine

LurkingWaspi Fri 30-Nov-18 21:57:08

Blimey, that's one powerful letter. No words really as to what you have been through.

I'm even more angry at the reply you received having read your letter. How bloody well dare she write to you like that. It reminded me straight away of the threatening phone call you had as a girl but just a tad more subtle with the gaslighting tone.
Have you ever spoken with NAPAC? I that know you are an able and articulate woman * Sarah*, but it helps not to carry it all yourself.

NAPAC did a lot with Saville stuff so please don't reply here, just mentioning them

BlackeyedGruesome Fri 30-Nov-18 23:26:28

you are awsome.

so sorry the letter in reply is crap.


UpstartCrow Fri 30-Nov-18 23:51:04

Sarahjconnor you're doing sterling work. You really do deserve a better response from them.

RepealTheGRA Sat 01-Dec-18 06:45:03

sorry, did I say the BBC were embarrassing themselves? Having read your letter their response in regards to pronouns is just fucking offensive.

flowersflowersflowers for everything

Sarahjconnor Sat 01-Dec-18 07:13:28

I am going to gather a full list of all the articles that have been offensive and write back. I am just very tired of thinking about these horrible men sad

littlbrowndog Sat 01-Dec-18 08:32:50

Sarah what shites the BBC are
So fucking woke and complicit with saville
More strength to you and 🍺💪💪
And having me own fight with the woke idiots at bbc but nowt compared to you
Great letter

littlbrowndog Sat 01-Dec-18 08:34:40

What was it that Julia HB said
The claptrap that the bbc spout

BernardBlacksWineIcelolly Sat 01-Dec-18 08:40:30

i read the reply last night and shook my head at the usual bbc crap

then I read your letter this morning Sarah and realised just how offensive and fucking limp that reply is

the culture which made it more important to protect a powerful man than to protect women and children is still fully in place isn't it?


Sarahjconnor Sat 01-Dec-18 08:53:23

The typos in my letter are making me cringe.
I have a list of all the misogyny in my head but am struggling to gather links, specific times/days - can anyone help?

OhHolyJesus Sat 01-Dec-18 08:56:24

You are amazing Sarah, I used to work at the bbc and I'm appalled by everything from the 'standard' of journalism to their reply sent to you.

What can we do to help? Could you send your letter and their reply with another letter to the Media and Culture secretary as a PP suggested? Could you go to other media like the newspapers or C4?

They absolutely need to be exposed as the misogynists and I say this as a woman who worked there, supported by a number of women in senior positions.

I've stopped watching bbc news so I feel unable to write a letter as I no longer consume their nonsense but if I can help by writing to my MP or do anything please let me know.

I'm so sorry you've had such horrific experiences. I believe you. You are incredible.

SadlyMissTaken Sat 01-Dec-18 08:59:13

That letter is very strong stuff. well done! If you are up to it i would escalate.

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