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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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News: BBC to investigate harassment claims after journalist’s suicide

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The BBC has appointed a third party to investigate whether complaints about sexual harassment by a journalist who later committed suicide were handled properly.

The family of Russell Joslin has accused the broadcaster of failing to act on the complaints of sexual harassment from a female colleague made by the reporter for BBC Coventry and Warwickshire.
 
But text messages revealed at the coroner’s inquest last week showed that Joslin explicitly blamed his employer for his mental health problems only weeks before he died. Preliminary results suggest that he died of asphyxiation on 22 October after stuffing a plastic bag down his throat at a psychiatric ward in which he was being treated.
 
One of Joslin’s text messages, sent to a friend on 5 October, said: “I have changed since I was ill, which I blame them [the BBC] for. I loathe the BBC, the entire mindset.”
 
In another text, he attested that his harassment complaints against a female broadcaster had been ignored. “Who could possibly believe [redacted] are sexual predators and the corporation sweeps allegations under carpet.”
 
He continued: “I told you the [redacted] story? How she pestered me endlessly? I made a compliant. Ignored.”
 
The woman accused of harassing Joslin was reported by BBC News to have denied any wrongdoing, but the broadcaster has said that it now intends to appoint an external person to establish whether it handled Joslin’s complaints properly.
 
Joslin’s father, Peter, the former chief constable of Warwickshire police, told the Guardian last week: “I do blame the BBC for Russell’s death. I believe he was not listened to when he flagged up his concerns and was repeatedly ignored by his bosses.”
 
His working conditions at the BBC, “where he had worked happily for many years”, had become “intolerable,” he added.
Author Profile Picture
Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett
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