DJ Tim Westwood has been accused of sexual misconduct, which he denies (Photo: SOPA Images via Getty Images)
He “strongly rejects all allegations of wrongdoing” and stepped down from his Capital Xtra “until further notice” on Wednesday.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Where did the allegations come from?
According to a joint investigation from the BBC and the Guardian, Westwood has been accused of misusing his powerful position. All of the allegations published in the investigation this week have come from Black women in the music industry.
Three women accused Westwood of opportunistic and predatory sexual behaviour while an additional four alleged he groped them at events when they were in their late teens or early 20s.
All of the incidents reportedly took place between 1992 and 2017.
Two of the women claim he initiated unwanted and unexpected sex, while another said she was subjected to unwanted oral sex and four others accused him of touching their bodies inappropriately as they posed for photos with him.
The accusers do not know each other. According to the BBC, “some work in the music industry and fear repercussions”.
One woman told the broadcaster: “I would describe it as an abuse of power because...who they’re going to believe? This little girl from the Midlands, or this big shiny star from London? He’s on national radio, international.”
The seven women, who all claim to have met Westwood through his work, have chosen to remain anonymous. Their allegations were unpacked in a BBC Three documentary, Tim Westwood: Abuse of Power, which aired on Tuesday at 9pm.
None of the women who spoke to the BBC have reported the incidents to the police. They said they were coming forward to make sure Westwood is “held accountable” for his behaviour and to encourage others to come forward.
Who is Westwood?
Westwood, 64, began his career in hip hop on local radio, before moving to Capital Radio in London. He then secured his own show on BBC Radio 1 in 1994 where he hosted the first nationally-broadcast rap programme. He has since become an influential figure in the hip-hop world.
He left the BBC in 2013, and returned to Capital where, up until Wednesday, he was presenting regular Capital Xtra shows on Saturday nights.
Tim Westwood "strongly rejects all allegations of wrongdoing" after he was accused of sexual misconduct and predatory behaviour by several women. (Photo: Yui Mok via PA Wire/PA Images)
How has Westwood responded?
A representative for the DJ told PA news agency: “Tim Westwood strongly denies all allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
“In a career that has spanned 40 years, there have never been any complaints made against him officially or unofficially.
“Tim Westwood strongly rejects all allegations of wrongdoing.”
Three of his planned DJ sets have since been cancelled and the events page of his website, which had more UK events planned for the next month, has been taken down.
What’s the history behind these claims?
Aside from Westwood’s status in the music industry, this case has caused a particular stir because this is not the first time concerns about the DJ have been raised.
HuffPost UK had an exclusive in July 2020 about the pressure Global Media – the parent company of Capital – was facing to launch an investigation into Westwood’s conduct at the time.
Global was heavily criticised (including by its own staff) for not addressing the claims publicly and for keeping Westwood’s show running when allegations of sexual misconduct against Westwood first emerged.
Back in 2020, a source told HuffPost UK: “Many presenters across the brands are uncomfortable with the situation and the executives have personally told staff not to speak to the media, which is unprecedented.”
The exclusive followed an online hashtag which emerged that June called #SurvivingTimWestwood, as word of the claims against the DJ spread.
The allegations also led to a change.org petition calling for the mayor of London and the Met Police to launch an investigation into Westwood’s alleged behaviour towards Black female students. It accumulated more than 6,000 signatures.
However, the Met was not able to explain whether it had launched a probe into the DJ.
Westwood has now stepped down from his weekly show on Capital Xtra (Photo: Dave J Hogan via Getty Images)
Westwood strongly denied the allegations at the time.
He told HuffPost UK: “I can categorically say that I have never had an inappropriate relationship with anyone under the age of 18. I am aware of attempts by anonymous sources to make fabricated allegations online. I can confirm that such allegations are false and without any foundation.”
A representation for Westwood told HuffPost UK that no complaints against him had been received at Capital Xtra, although an anonymous producer from Global alleged in 2020 that staff were “outraged” at the company’s “silence”.
Several Black British public figures contributed to the conversation around Westwood then as well, such as presenter Grace Victory and DJ Funk Butcher.
Tim Westwood has been a predator for years, but nobody cares about young women, specifically young black women so people just turned a blind eye. This happens time and time again with men who appear to have power and authority - especially within the entertainment industry.
— Grace 🌿 (@GraceFVictory) June 21, 2020
Maybe the @TimWestwood conversation and the dismissive behaviour of @global is better suited for your own debating platform @LBC ....what say you @mrjamesob?! Is this discussion worthy? Why are Black women trivialised in instances of sexual assault?! 🤔
— Funk Butcher (@FunkButcher) June 22, 2020
Westwood’s peer in the hip hop industry, the late rapper Ty Chijioke, also previously referred to the veteran DJ as a vulture in reference to his behaviour with young fans.
Speaking to the BBC during the 2022 investigation, one of the women accusing Westwood said: “Finally people’s allegations are starting to be taken seriously.”
What has the BBC and Capital said?
BBC director general Tim Davie said he had not found any evidence of complaints made about Westwood when he was working there.
He said: “I’ve asked and we’ve looked at our records and we’ve seen no evidence.
“If something like this were raised or anything comes up, we investigate it fully. And I would hope we were doing that in that time as well.
“I would simply say if people have evidence where things weren’t followed up, or they have concerns in this area, bring it to us. We want to investigate it.”
He said the testimonies were “shocking” and encouraged people to bring forward “evidence of wrong doing”, because “there’s nothing worse in life than abuse of power”.
He added: “You need to be absolutely clear that it’s completely unacceptable.”
A spokesperson from Capital’s parent company Global confirmed on Wednesday that “following the claims that have recently come to light, Tim Westwood has stepped down from his show until further notice.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.