Former BBC chief resigns from high-profile role at UK’s National Gallery amid Diana interview fallout

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Fallout from an investigation into BBC’s 1995 interview with Princess Diana continues to reverberate throughout the United Kingdom.

On Saturday, Tony Hall, who was the broadcaster’s director of news at the time of the explosive tell-all with the late Princess of Wales, announced he was stepping down from his role as board chairman of Britain’s National Gallery.

His decision to resign from the high-profile position at one of the world’s most prestigious art museums comes as the BBC grapples with a torrent of criticism over its handling of an internal investigation into the now-infamous interview.

“I have today resigned as chair of the National Gallery,” Hall said in a statement on Saturday, according to The Independent.

“I have always had a strong sense of public service and it is clear my continuing in the role would be a distraction to an institution I care deeply about,” he added.

“As I said two days ago, I am very sorry for the events of 25 years ago and I believe leadership means taking responsibility,” said Hall, who stepped down as BBC’s director-general in early 2020, after seven years on the job.

Earlier this week an investigation into the blockbuster “BBC Panorama” interview concluded that Martin Bashir, who was at the time a young and mostly unknown journalist, used false documents and pretenses to score the interview with one of the world’s best known people.

The 126-page report found that an internal investigation had covered up “deceitful behavior” by the journalist.

The public broadcaster “fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark,” the inquiry concluded.

It also described the 1996 internal investigation led by Hall as “woefully ineffective.”

Hall’s resignation is just the latest episode in the aftermath of the publication of the BBC-commissioned report.

Later last week, before the publication of the report, Bashir announced he was resigning from his position as the BBC’s religion editor “to focus on his health.”

The broadcaster, which has been fiercely criticized for the botched inquiry into the matter, has announced that it’ll return the BAFTA TV Award for best talk show won by Bashir in 1996.

It has also issued apologies to Diana’s husband Charles, Prince of Wales, her sons William and Harry, and her brother Earl Spencer.

The National Gallery said in a statement that it is “extremely sorry” with Hall’s resignation, but it “understands and respects” it, according to The Associated Press.

John Kingman, the deputy chair of the gallery’s board of trustees, will temporarily take over his position.

“Tony Hall has been doing a superb job as chair of the National Gallery, where he is much respected and liked,” he said.