BBC branded ‘insensitive’ after advertising for new job hours after ‘harassed’ reporter killed himself
The BBC have been branded “insensitive” and “disrespectful” after they advertised a vacancy for a broadcast journalist – on the same day a local radio reporter killed himself.
Russell Joslin, 50, died on Octiber 22 last month after he was admitted to a mental health hospital following a failed suicide bid three days earlier.
On the day he died his bosses at BBC Coventry and Warwickshire radio sent an email to all staff advertising for a job which was identical to his role at the station.
The revelation follows the start of a police probe into allegations Mr Joslin was pushed to suicide after being sexually harassed by a high-profile female colleague.
Grieving colleagues yesterday said they were “staggered” by the insensitive timing of the job ad.
A worker at BBC, who did not wish to be named, said: “When I opened this email the next morning [after Mr Joslin’s death], I just turned to my colleague and we both stared back at each other in disbelief.
“Russell was a popular guy and to receive an advert for a broadcast journalist job at Coventry and Warwickshire when he has just killed himself in the most tragic of circumstances is beyond insensitive.
“It sounds to me like it was his job they were advertising but our bosses are saying it wasn’t.
“Whether it is or isn’t is irrelevant – it is still deeply disrespectful to his friends and family.”
The email was sent to all BBC English regions staff by BBC West Midlands senior human resources official Rani Randhawa advertising for a full-time broadcast journalist at 2.26am on Monday, October 22.
Less than 12 hours after the email was sent Mr Joslin was pronounced dead after his life support machine was turned off at 1.30pm.
An inquest held last week heard Mr Joslin died as a result of asphyxiation after choking on a plastic bag which he is believed to have stuffed down his own throat.
Yesterday the BBC vehemently denied advertising for the popular reporter’s job on the same day he died.
A spokesman said: “It would be completely misleading to suggest that this was a vacancy in any way associated with Russell Joslin.”
He added that the email had been sent at 12.57pm on Monday, October 22 – before they were aware of Russell’s death, and not 2.26am, which can be seen on the internal email.
Text messages show Mr Joslin had been desperately trying to get help from the BBC after he had time off with depression in the spring.
His family revealed Mr Joslin believed he had been sidelined for years and ignored by bosses after telling them he had been bullied by a former female colleague after he spurned her sexual advances in 2007.
Mr Joslin’s friends and family – including father Peter Joslin, 78, a former police chief constable of Warwickshire Police – have called for an independent inquiry into how BBC managers responded to his concerns and complaints.
Last week furious answer phone messages from the female colleague at the centre of the storm revealed she branded Russell “flaky” and a “loser” after they rowed during a meal out together in 2007.
On one message she rants: “Don’t ever ever ever think of me as your mate again. Do what you have to at the BBC because you are a loser on 27 grand a year.
“But don’t ever ever encroach on me or my talent.”
The BBC has since confirmed they will be holding an investigation into the matter.
About 300 people attended Mr Joslin’s funeral in Kenilworth, Warks., on Wednesday but not his former female colleague at the centre of the sexual harassment allegations.