BBC claims it’s not “in the public interest” to report on fatal false rape accusation case

Earlier this week we reported on the tragic case of Grant Townsend, a young man from Hull who sadly took his own life after being falsely accused of rape. In the article we noted the lack of national media coverage of the case, highlighting in particular the public service obligations of the BBC to report on the case (specifically the local BBC Look North and radio Humberside networks).

We’re pleased to say that our initial report is now somewhat outdated and sections of the media picked up on the story immediately after our article was published. On Wednesday the Daily Mail published an excellent article concerning the case, as did The Sun Newspaper. Notably, these two titles are the best selling newspapers in the country. Thankfully this wasn’t the end of the matter either, with the Daily Mirror catching up with the story on Thursday, and thus bringing it to a more left-leaning audience.

Grant Townsend

As promised on Tuesday we got in touch with the BBC to ask them to either detail their coverage of the case (assuming we couldn’t find it) or to remedy any failure to report on the case immediately as per their public service broadcasting obligations. We regret to inform readers that the response we received from the BBC was again totally unacceptable and quite frankly a disgrace.

Andrew Robson of the BBC emailed us a response explaining the “context” for the organisation’s decision to hide the story from the airwaves. His statement included the following:

It’s worth noting the BBC takes the reporting of suicides very seriously; we judge the impact of our reporting of each case, and the public interest in doing so. We work in line with guidance produced by The Samaritans and note that suicide should not be seen as a simple cause and effect situation but that often there are multiple, complex factors involved. On this occasion, it was judged that we would not cover this story. 

These three sentences by Robson are so full of falsehoods and raises so many concerns about the BBC and its agenda that quite frankly it’s hard to know where to begin. Firstly, is proves that the failure to cover Townsend’s case wasn’t some mere oversight at the BBC and/or perhaps a failure to spot the story, but a clear and deliberate act and thus the breach of the BBC’s public service broadcast obligations was 100% intentional.

Robson is suggesting that the “impact” of reporting on the reality of fatal false rape accusations to the general public somehow wouldn’t be a good or desirable thing and instead such matters and the victims of such acts should be swept under the carpet as if they never existed. He goes further, noting that they don’t believe it was “in the public interest” to report on Townsend’s case. This simply goes to show just how out of touch the BBC are with the general public, as we mentioned before not only is there the public interest angle of suicide and mental health, there’s also the massively important issue of false rape accusations not to mention the urgent need for anonymity for the accused. If you’re counting, that’s at least four separate public interest angles, some of which are particularly topical right now.

While it’s true that many cases of depression and suicide are unexplained and not linked to life events, this completely omits the experiences of so many who do experience reactive depression due to traumatic life events. For example, fathers groups are constantly dealing with depressed men who experience depression and suicidal thoughts thanks to contact denial and parental alienation. Sadly, too many go beyond mere suicidal thoughts, yet in BBC land somehow we’re supposed to pretend the erasure of fathers from their children’s lives somehow has no impact and certainly never kills anyone.

Contact denial of course isn’t the only form of domeiitc abuse and it’s rather convenient that BBC policy allows the organisation to obsess on the cases of fatal domestic abuse where violence by a partner is the cause of death, yet it ignores any such victims driven to suicide. One has to wonder if this is becasue the number of men killed by domestic abuse would in fact be higher than the number of women killed were we to take into account all the victims drive to suicide?

Robson also stated:

The choice of stories covered by our programmes is the decision of our editorial leaders. Their decisions take into account a number of factors such as what else is happening on any given day, how much time there is in the output, and the available resources.  

Well, we basically pre-empted this paragraph in our previous article, but Robson has more than confirmed everything we claimed. A man driven to suicide by false rape accusation is far, far less important to the BBC than some missing pet dogs, a potential women’s trek to the north pole next year, not to mention a baby being born in a car park. You see, with all those massive and hugely important stories hogging the Look North headlines at the same time as the Grant Townsend case, there just isn’t the “time” or “available resources” to take a 90 second walk across the street from the BBC studios to the Coroner’s office to report on this case.

The missing dogs that the BBC consider more important than Townsend

Considering this scandal more deeply and taking a wider look at the issue, what we have here once again is in fact blatant sex discrimination by the BBC. The overwhelming majority of victims of fatal false rape accusation are men and of course the overwhelming majority of victims of suicide are men, with men much more prone to suicide stemming from reactive depression, a type of suicide which is so often much more straightforward and simple to prevent by simply tackling the root cause of said reactive depression (be it contact denial, domestic violence or false rape accusation etc).

So we have all these issues which overwhelmingly have male victims and male deaths, yet the wisdom of the BBC is that it’s simply not in the “public interest” to report on such cases. This is of course blatant sex discrimination – BBC policy allows and in fact emphasises reporting on women who die tragically, yet with men, the “impact” of the reports is inappropriate and so men’s death (and their lives too) and simply erased from broadcasts. Looking at the issue further, male suicide disproportionally impacts groups such as the working class, so not only do we have sex discrimination but once again the BBC prioritising their beloved middle class.

The real icing on the cake here isn’t so much the actual content contained within Robson’s email, but perhaps more telling is what is absent. At no single point anywhere in his statement does Robson even hint at, let alone even acknowledge the false allegations that caused Townsend’s death. Every newspaper headline notes these, his friends note them as the root cause of his depression and decline, and they are absolutely key to the story. So, not only can the BBC not bare to mention such topics in their news articles, or TV and radio broadcasts, they can’t even bring themselves to mention them to you or I via an email. Even acknowledging the issue is simply off limits, almost as if it’s somehow illegal or damaging to their social credit score.

And if anyone from the BBC (or from anywhere) still isn’t convinced by any of the above then there’s one way to prove the points beyond any doubt. Merely compare and contrast all the above with the BBC’s reporting of the Eleanor De Freitas case and it’s clear this has little or nothing to do with BBC guidelines, or public interest. I would previously have said that the main BBC guideline is that men are second class citizens, but it looks like they’re now third class, below dogs.

Below is our much deserved response to Mr Robson at the radfem BBC, enjoy:

Dear Mr Robson,

Many thanks for your reply and providing the much needed “context” for your decision.

On reflection it was of course very silly of us to think the the issues of false rape accusations, the urgent need for anonymity for the accused, suicide, reactive depression and mental health were remotely in the “public interest”, and clearly the “impact” of even acknowledging fatal false rape accusations is so horrific that you couldn’t even bring yourself to do it in your email, let alone on the airwaves or on a BBC website.

You’re clearly all doing a great job at the BBC ensuring all “available resources” are ploughed into finding missing dogs and giving in-depth reports on random women running around with tyres tied to them. Clearly with these two massive stories going on at the same time, not to mention some baby being born in some car park, it would have been absolutely impossible for your staff to walk the 200 meters from the BBC studios to the Coroner’s office down the street to report on this case, nor would there have been enough time in your crowded output either. The licence fee is clearly great value and this surely proves it beyond any doubt and any allegations that your organisation is out of touch with the general public is clearly 100% false.

In all seriousness, I was going to inform our readers that the main BBC policy was in fact that men are second class citizens. You have of course proved me completely wrong, and clearly men and now in fact third class citizens behind dogs.

Update, we asked Erin Pizzey, founder of the world’s first fddomestic violence hsleters to comment on this matter and add her expertise to the discussion. She stated:

The hysterical BBC response to the suicide of Caroline Flack resulted in complaints from the public which only confirms what I have always believed that the BBC are institutionally guilty of discriminating against men. I also believe that Parental Alienation and false allegations against men are the leading cause of male suicide.

If you enjoy reading HEqual and the work we do please consider making a donation so we can continue promoting equality and tackling discrimination.

6 thoughts on “BBC claims it’s not “in the public interest” to report on fatal false rape accusation case

  1. Clicking “like” on this is wrong message, but needs must for the SEO algorithms.

    I stopped watching, listening to and reading Messrs BBC two decades ago when it became absolutely clear to me that the truth was not one of their values. The Head Office of the BBC is in Whitehall isn’t it, with the Ministry of Government Propaganda to one side, and the Ministry of Feminism to the other? The Ministry of The Needs & Wants of The Seriously Monied People is right opposite. I wonder if in this current very windy weather they perhaps signal to one another with semaphore flags, the better to avoid going outside and risk having the froth blown off their coconut-mocha lattes.

  2. Pingback: Grant Townsend RIP. The BBC consider stories of lost dogs and births in car parks to have more “public interest” than stories of men who’ve killed themselves due to false rape allegations.

  3. I think Robson meant it was not in the BBC’s interests. Thank God more and more license payers are waking up to this corrupt organisation’s lies.

  4. It would be good if newspapers started pointing out the BBCs warped priorities. It would be in their interest to show that they are reporting important events while the BBC is pushing non stories.

  5. Excellent letters to the BBC, thank you.

    And of course one only has to compare the story of Grant Townsend’s suicide with that of the female TV presenter Caroline Flack, who was (allegedly) a domestic abuser of her boyfriend, and had been charged accordingly. And the police reported that she confessed to the crime: “I did it” she said to the police when they arrived.

    Yet even a cursory search of the BBC website, throw-up over 30 articles, all of them deeply sympathetic and conciliatory to her “plight”: “Flack wanted to ‘find harmony’ with boyfriend”, “…hit boyfriend over cheating fears”, “Her life was so full of love and laughter” etc.

    And NOWHERE on the BBC website will you find the phrase “domestic abuser” associated with her, even allegedly.

  6. This indifference on the part of the BBC fits into the framework of ‘gamma bias’(1). This cognitive bias matrix operates around four possible judgments about gender: doing good (celebration), doing harm (perpetration), receiving good (privilege), and receiving harm (victimhood).
    This means, for example, good acts committed by men will be gender neutralised by referring to firefighters or highlighting a smaller number of women who may have been involved. Conversely, in the case of good acts committed by women their gender will be at the forefront. Similarly, in the domains of privilege and victimhood; masculinity is highlighted in the domains of receiving privilege and but hidden in the domains of victimhood. This is one of those cases where not just the man’s identity, in the domain of victimhood, has to be hidden but the whole story has to be buried.

    Seager M, Barry JA. Cognitive Distortion in Thinking About Gender Issues: Gamma Bias and the Gender Distortion Matrix. In: Barry JA, Kingerlee R, Seager M, Sullivan L, editors. The Palgrave Handbook of Male Psychology and Mental Health [Internet]. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2019 [cited 2020 Dec 29]. p. 87–104. Available from:

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