Published: Tuesday 10th November 2015 by The News Editor
A former colleague of radio DJ Neil Fox has told a court she was made redundant after making complaints to bosses about his “sleazy” behaviour.
The alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said Fox assaulted her while he was presenting the Breakfast Show on Magic radio.
She said she was reluctant to make a complaint because Fox was the “money maker” at the station and his was the “number one breakfast show in London” at the time.
She told Westminster Magistrates’ Court she eventually reported him over the incident and also accused him of making a racist comment in her presence. She also complained of sexual discrimination.
She said she was offered a new job with a pay cut, which she declined. She was then offered redundancy, which she accepted.
She told the court the alleged assault took place while Fox was playing a record and lasted for around 45 seconds.
She said: “I remember being in the studio with Neil and (another male colleague).
“Neil got up off his chair and started tickling me. I was wearing an off-the-shoulder top.
“He (Fox) put his hand up my top to my waist and was tickling. I asked him to get off me but he found it funny.”
She said Fox manoeuvred her on to the sofa and began “simulating thrusting” on top of her.
A male colleague began taking pictures of the incident on his camera phone, she said.
She said she told Fox to get off her three times before he eventually agreed.
She told the court her top came down below her right breast during the alleged assault, exposing her underwear.
She also told the court how Fox would make comments about her appearance and describe who “the sexiest women in the office” were.
Asked by defence counsel Jonathan Caplan QC if the comments could be considered part of sexual “banter” that she also participated in from time to time, the witness said: “Yeah, OK.”
Mr Caplan said his client “does not have a specific recollection” of the alleged assault.
The woman said she kept the alleged incident to herself for some time before going to her managers because she thought her job would be at risk for speaking out.
She said: “I felt uncomfortable and found Neil sleazy.
“But, at the time, he was the money maker. His was the number one breakfast show in London.”
The woman, giving evidence from behind a screen, said she was sacked because she made complaints about Fox.
Mr Caplan put it to her that her official complaint did not mention the alleged assault in the studio – something she denied.
Fox, of Fulham in south west London, denies eight counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault, between 1988 and 2014.
The court heard that Fox was held in high esteem by some former colleagues, including Capital Xtra DJ Jez Welham, who said he considered Fox to be “a god”.
Referring to a conversation Mr Welham had with an alleged victim, the witness told the court: “I said there’s people I work with who I admire.
“I said of Foxy … he’s a bit of a god in the industry.
“He’s fantastic. I said if I can have half the career he’s had, I’d be happy.”
Defence counsel Mr Caplan accused Mr Welham of spreading “gossip” about his client – allegedly referring to Fox as “Project Yewtree” and talking about him in a way that was “disparaging” – something Mr Welham denied.
Mr Caplan said: “There seems to be a number of occasions in which you appear to be happy to relay details about what he’s allegedly done but that you have no knowledge about.”
Mr Welham replied: “If somebody says ‘This has happened’, ‘Yeah, that’s what I heard’, personally I don’t see that as gossip.”
Mr Welham said he encouraged an alleged victim to speak to radio bosses about Fox because it was above his pay grade to deal with it.
Allegations against Fox include a claim that he fondled a colleague’s breasts while hugging her from behind at Capital FM.
Fox denied the incident and said he was “extremely happy and in love” with his wife, according to an interview with police on the day of his arrest in September 2014, which was read to the court.
He said: “It (hugging) is never a sexual thing or anything weird like that. It’s all very matey, if that makes sense.
“I could have easily hugged (the complainant) at some point. It may have been a brilliant show, or a good interview, or Happy Christmas or Happy Birthday.
“But I don’t hug trying to have a sneaky feel. I’m not like that.”
He said the first he knew about the allegations was when he was spoken to by police “at five past 10 when I came off the radio”.
He added: “As a married man, I’ve got two young kids at the time … I’m extremely happy and in love with my wife. Things are really good in my life.”
Fox denied accusations he bullied or intimidated women.
In his statement, he said: “I have never had a problem working with women, I’ve never had a problem with girls or girls doing well or girls getting on.
“Quite the opposite, actually.
“To say I was intimidating (a complainant) … I find that quite sad because it is not in my nature.”
Fox said he had no recollection of another incident in which he is alleged to have approached a colleague from behind in a communal kitchen and kissed her bare shoulder.
He told police: “I could have touched her back, it’s a tiny kitchen.
“It would be very easy to put your hands on (someone’s) back and reach over and try and get some water.
“I would have put (my hands) on the back of a man if he was there. But I can’t imagine kissing (the complainant) on the shoulder.”
Fox later described being “incredulous” when details of allegations – including that he forced his tongue into the mouth of a 15-year-old girl at a Capital Radio roadshow at Chessington World of Adventures in 1996 – were put to him by detectives.
During a second interview with police in December 2014, he said he would sign autographs and pose for pictures with fans, and that the roadshow environment was always family-friendly with plenty of security guards around, the court heard.
He said: “Did I kiss the fans? I didn’t put my tongue in their mouths, which is the allegation.
“There’s having a photo taken and giving them a peck on the cheek – that’s a different ball game.
“I find it (the allegation) incredulous, to be honest, particularly when you see the setting of it.
“Did I kiss them? I could have easily pecked them on the cheek if they asked for it.
“But not on the lips. On the cheek is fine.
“Maybe it was them (fans) kissing us. We all used to see it – they used to get quite crazy, to be honest.”
Of the allegation at Chessington, he said: “It’s insane. I’m sorry to sound a little bit angry but I am a little bit angry.
“The idea of this particular allegation I find ridiculous and sad. Who knows why people say these things?”
Fox said he had “no idea” why the allegations were made against him.
He said: “I just wish they (complainants) hadn’t because it’s ruining my frigging life at the moment. I just want to get back to work and to my family.
“Perhaps for some reason they (complainants) don’t like me.”
He added: “I’ve not committed any of these crimes. I haven’t committed any sexual assaults.
“In the entertainment business, in radio, there is lots of fun, lots of hijinks, lots of horseplay, lots of banter.
“But I know where the line is, and I have not crossed the line.”
The case was adjourned until tomorrow. Fox denies all charges.
Published: Tuesday 10th November 2015 by The News Editor