Martin Bashir was “seriously unwell” after contracting the COVID-19 illness in 2020.
In October 2020, the BBC revealed that Martin — who, at the time, was BBC News religions editor — was suffering from complications related to COVID-19.
“We are sorry to say that Martin is seriously unwell with COVID-19 related complications,” a spokesperson for the broadcasting corporation said. “Everyone at the BBC is wishing him a full recovery … We’d ask that his privacy, and that of his family, is respected at this time.”
Months later, BBC announced that Martin Bashir would be taking a step down from his role as editor to "focus on his health." But his resignation may have had a lot to do with recent allegations of professional misconduct.
What did Martin Bashir do? His 1995 interview with Princess Diana is under investigation.
In November of 2020, the BBC appointed Lord Dyson, a former British Supreme Court justice, to look into how Martin obtained his famous 1995 Panorama interview with Diana — the one in which the late Princess of Wales discussed her marriage to Prince Charles and his relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles and said that “there were three of us in the marriage.”
The investigation came shortly after Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, presented the BBC with a dossier of evidence, arguing that Martin used forged bank statements to persuade Diana to agree to the interview, according to Deadline. Although the BBC previously cleared the 58-year-old of any wrongdoing, both the network and Martin have apologized for their lapse in judgment.
“The BBC is determined to get to the truth about these events and that is why we have commissioned an independent investigation,” BBC Director-General Tim Davie said on Nov. 18.
Prince William, Diana’s elder son, said in a subsequent statement that the investigation “is a step in the right direction” and “should help establish the truth behind the actions that led to the Panorama interview and subsequent decisions taken by those in the BBC at the time,” per The Guardian.
In 2021, the Dyson Report revealed that Martin Bashir and BBC had been "deceitful."
After an in-depth investigation, Lord Dyson concluded that Martin Bashir had been "deceitful" in obtaining his interview with Princess Diana and should have been held accountable a long time ago. Dyson's findings claimed that the BBC "fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark" and helped create a false narrative in doing so.
Since Dyson's findings were published, the royals have spoken out about what they expect to happen next.
Prince William has since spoken out about Lord Dyson's findings.
In response to the Dyson Report, Prince William released a statement that thanked Lord Dyson and addressed the alleged "cover-up" that was orchestrated at the hands of the BBC.
“It is my view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said. The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others," he said, adding, "It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia, and isolation that I remember from those final years with her."
In the statement, William urged the BBC to take full responsibility for their missteps as well as for Martin's actions. He continued, "It is my firm view that this Panorama program holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again. It effectively established a false narrative which, for over a quarter of a century, has been commercialized by the BBC and others."
But this isn't the first time Martin Bashir has been accused of professional misconduct.
Martin Bashir previously caused trouble for ABC News and MSNBC.
In 2008, Martin was suspended from his role as a co-anchor of the ABC News program Nightline after making “crude and sexist” comments during a speech at the Asian American Journalists Convention and referring to the participants as “Asian babes,” according to The Independent.
And during a 2013 episode of his self-named MSNBC show, the journalist described former U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as a “world-class idiot” and “America’s resident dunce” and suggested that she should be forced to eat feces.
Weeks later, Martin resigned from the cable network. “It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues ... will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself,” he wrote in a statement at the time. “I deeply regret what was said, will endeavor to work hard at making constructive contributions in the future, and will always have a deep appreciation for our viewers.”