- The BBC backtracked after interviewing Alan Dershowitz about the Ghislaine Maxwell verdict.
- The network did not mention his ties to Jeffrey Epstein, or a sex-abuse accusation against him.
- The morning after the interview, the BBC admitted the interview should not have gone ahead.
The BBC said that an interview it broadcast with Alan Dershowitz in the wake of the conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell should not have been aired.
After Maxwell was found guilty of five counts of sex trafficking, BBC News interviewed Dershowitz, whom it called a constitutional lawyer and presented as it would any other impartial expert.
The network did not mention that Dershowitz is Epstein’s former lawyer. He has also been accused of sexual abuse by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has accused Prince Andrew and Epstein of similar crimes.
The morning after the interview, the BBC issued a statement saying Dershowitz was “not a suitable person to interview” in such a way.
—BBC News Press Team (@BBCNewsPR) December 30, 2021
During the interview, Dershowitz attempted to discredit Giuffre, congratulating US prosecutors for not calling her as a witness in the Maxwell case, according to The Times of London.
“[Prosecutors] did not use as a witness the woman who accused Prince Andrew, who accused me, who accused many other people, because the government didn’t believe she was telling the truth.”
The BBC did not mention that Giuffre has accused Dershowitz of participating in sex crimes against her, nor that she sued him for defamation for calling her a “certified liar” over the abuse allegations.
The interview prompted a number of complaints, including one from Caoilfhionn Gallagher, a human rights lawyer who said presenting Dershowitz as an impartial law experience was an “utterly bizarre decision & does the audience a disservice.”
Rob Burley, a former senior producer at the BBC, said on Twitter: “It’s unclear exactly why the BBC Dershowitz debacle happened last night, but one thing’s for sure: if you cut staff numbers and embark on a restructure that will reduce editorial oversight there will be more mistakes.”
—Rob Burley (@RobBurl) December 30, 2021
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