British DJ Tim Westwood has been accused of “sexual predation”. Former fans say he ruined their lives

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Photographer, Getty Images

British DJ and radio host Tim Westwood has been accused of harassment. Seven black women said that, using his position in the music industry, Westwood molested them and persuaded them to have sexual relations. The DJ left his show less than 24 hours after the allegations became known.

A joint investigation by the BBC and the Guardian has released the accounts of seven women who they say had experienced Westwood’s lewd behavior between 1992 and 2017.

Tim Westwood, now 64, has hosted the Saturday night show on hip-hop radio station Capital Xtra for the past nine years. From 1994 to 2013 he was a program presenter on BBC Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra.

The DJ is known for providing a platform for young performers, and the guests of his programs have been almost all the stars of the world of hip-hop – from Eminem to Cardi B.

Photographer, PA Media

photo caption,

Tim Westwood during his show on Capital Xtra radio

For his own sets, Westwood chose the pseudonym Big Dawg, under which he performed in nightclubs throughout the UK and abroad. In parallel with the radio show, Westwood ran his own YouTube channel.

Less than 24 hours after the investigation went on the air, 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 cancelled.

Tim Westwood vehemently denies the allegations, and 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,” the DJ’s spokesperson said in a statement.

What is Westwood accused of?

The women who told their stories to the BBC and the Guardian in the BBC Three documentary “Tim Westwood: Abuse of Power” accused the DJ of “predatory sexual behavior” – including touching their private parts. without permission and encouraged to enter into an intimate relationship with him, abusing his high status in the music industry.

They are all black, and they all met Westwood through his work. Prior to this investigation, they did not know each other.

According to them, they met with Westwood, sometimes arriving in London by train from outlying towns, in the hope that this would help jump-start their musical career. Instead, they say, he brought them to his apartment, where he began to molest them and eventually persuaded them to have intimate relationships, although they initially did not want it.

Women said that such an attitude on his part deeply traumatized them, leaving an imprint on their whole future life.

photo caption,

Screenshot from BBC Three documentary “Tim Westwood: Abuse of Power”

One of the women, Tamara (the names of the accusers have been changed to protect their privacy) met the DJ in 1992 when she was 17 years old. She was a member of an R&B group at the time.

In an interview with the Guardian, after the documentary was released, she said she was glad that Westwood had to leave his show and their voices were heard, although, as she put it, the “deafening silence” in the first 24 hours after the investigation made her think that there will be no consequences.

“Now I think the allegations were too big and too many for his show to go on. The idea of ​​him still having his show regularly on Saturdays was just awful to me,” she said.

Another woman, Pamela (not her real name), has criticized the BBC for giving Westwood the status, fame and position that he has abused and which she claims contributed to his behaviour.

“He’s such a big public figure and you’re just a small town girl. Who are people more likely to believe?” she says.

She also noted that she was disappointed, but not surprised, by criticism of herself and other women who chose to tell their stories to journalists. According to her, in the comments to the investigation, people write that women did it for the sake of attention and money.

“But I think the people who write this were just the worst students in the class,” says Pamela.

What was the public reaction

BBC CEO Tim Davey called the women’s testimony “strong and horrifying” and urged anyone who has experienced harassment and has evidence to speak up.

Davey said that he found no evidence that the corporation received complaints 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 a corporation, then they will be considered.

“If something comes up, we will fully investigate it. If people have evidence that we didn’t follow something, bring it to us,” said Tim Davey. “We will check anything, and we will dig, dig and dig.”

British hip-hop pioneer Debbie Price, a former member of the South London-based rap duo Cookie Crew, said it was time for an honest and open conversation about Westwood’s reputation and its relationship with African-American music.

“Our culture, our music, our creativity – everything that concerns us has been instilled by carriers 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 End Violence Against Women, said no woman should be afraid to speak up just because she might not be believed.

“But we know full well that this is a common story for black women and anyone who faces racial discrimination in a justice system that is often against them,” she said.

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