Tim Westwood: Abuse of Power – everything you need to know about the shocking BBC documentary

Capital Xtra radio DJ Tim Westwood is facing multiple allegations sexual misconduct by a number of women, who are set to tell their stories during a BBC documentary entitled Tim Westwood: Abuse of Power. He has denied the allegations.

The claims relate to incidents between 1992 and 2017, during which he is accused of predatory sexual behaviour and groping. He was a popular Radio1 DJ from 1994 to 2013. As the documentary airs on BBC iPlayer and BBC Three, here’s everything we know about the powerful programme.

What is Tim Westwood: Abuse of Power about?

The BBC synopsis reads: “For 40 years, Tim Westwood dominated the UK Black music scene. The white DJ was an early adopter of hip hop in the 1980s and presented BBC Radio 1’s Rap Show for almost 20 years, before moving to Capital Xtra in 2013. The self-styled ‘Big Dawg’ had everyone from Jay-Z to Nicki Minaj on his shows, and his stint presenting MTV’s Pimp My Ride made him a household name.

“In a joint investigation by the BBC and The Guardian, allegations of sexual misconduct have been brought to light. In this explosive documentary, six women speak out about their experiences for the first time, claiming he misused his powerful position in the music industry to take advantage of them. The earliest alleged incident took place in 1992, the most recent in 2017. All of the women are Black.

“The 64-year-old DJ strenuously denies the allegations. 

“Three of the women have accused Westwood of opportunistic and predatory sexual behaviour when they met him to discuss their music or were invited to London to do work experience with him at the BBC. They were 17, 19 and 20 at the time.

“Another three women in their late teens or early twenties met Westwood at club nights when he DJ’d. The women, who have never spoken, say that as they posed for a photo with the DJ he put his hand inside their top, down their shorts or up their skirt, leaving them shocked and shaken.”

Is there anything else we know about the allegations?

The BBC has shared a detailed article from the women describing their encounters with Westwood. They include accounts from a young woman who was invited to do work experience with him at Radio 1 and another who hoped to get his help in advancing her music career.

Since the news broke, countless more have spoken out on Twitter. One wrote: “Black women have been speaking very publicly about Tim Westwood’s behaviour for YEARS. He was in his 50s sniffing around uni dorms for victims… I’m glad it’s finally been taken note of but can we just listen to women instead of waiting for 20 years worth of allegations?”

Another added: “The fact that my entire [timeline] is pretty much saying ‘about time’ regarding Tim Westwood is extremely telling of the lack of action when it comes to Black female victims of alleged sexual assault.”

What has Tim Westwood said about the allegations?

The Guardian reports that lawyers acting for Tim Westwood have said that he was “a well-respected and highly successful DJ,” and that “he strenuously denied in their entirety the serious allegations being made against him”.

“Any suggestion that he acts, or has acted, in the way described would be false and seriously defamatory,” a statement said.

When does Tim Westwood: Abuse of Power air?

The documentary is already available to watch on BBC iPlayer. It will air on BBC Three at 9 pm on 26 April 2022.

For more information about reporting and recovering from rape and sexual abuse, you can contact Rape Crisis.