Thanks to his 1995 interview with Princess Diana and his controversial ITV documentary, ‘Living with Michael Jackson,’ Martin Henry Bashir is one of the most well-known names in British journalism. But out of these, the one that truly helped him establish himself was the former. After all, during her conversation with Martin for BBC, the Princess of Wales famously stated that there were three people in her marriage, adding that she had bulimia and often self-harmed. But now, Martin is under heat due to his dishonest ways. So, let’s find out all that there is to know about the matter, shall we?
Who is Martin Bashir?
Born and raised in London to liberal Muslim parents from Pakistan, Martin Bashir began his career in journalism after graduating with a fused degree in English and History from King Alfred’s College of Higher Education (University of Winchester). He has also completed a Master’s degree in Theology from King’s College. After working as a freelance writer, Martin joined BBC in 1986. Thus, nearly a decade later, when it was revealed that a relatively junior reporter, with no known connections in the Palace, had secured the Princess’ interview, it came as quite a surprise.
Broadcast on ‘Panorama,’ Martin had asked the then-Royal Family member a hoard of sensitive questions during the conversation, which resulted in an outcry in Britain and the Queen telling Prince Charles and Diana to file for divorce. In the aftermath of it all, though, not only did the Princess of Wales say that she had “no regrets,” but Martin also won a BAFTA for the program and received the honor of being named Journalist of the Year, as decided by the Royal Television Society.
Though Princess Diana’s claims were explosive at that time as well, Martin became the subject of a six-month inquiry by John Dyson, a former British Supreme Court judge, quite recently. And the 127-page conclusive record of the same, made public knowledge on May 20, has made many demand justice from BBC and the reporter. The inquiry found that Martin had used “deceitful behavior” to land the interview, which was a “serious breach” of the network’s editorial guidelines.
Martin had made a BBC graphic designer unwittingly doctor several bank statements to show payments by a newspaper group to a former member of Earl Spencer’s (Princess Diana’s brother’s) staff. He had done it to gain Earl’s confidence and hopefully be introduced to the Princess later, which is what happened. “By gaining access to Princess Diana in this way,” the report clarifies, “Mr. Bashir was able to persuade her to agree to give the interview.” Not only that, but BBC actually “covered up…its press logs” when people began asking questions.
Where is Martin Bashir Now?
Martin Henry Bashir had left BBC in 1999 to work for ITV. But he relocated to New York in 2004, where he spent over a decade serving as an anchor for corporations like ABC and MSNBC. He worked as a current affairs host and political commentator before landing his own self-titled show, ‘Martin Bashir.’ Yet, controversies followed him everywhere he went. He has been accused of making “crude” and “sexist” remarks, along with “ill-judged” comments about politician Sarah Palin. Then, in late 2016, Martin returned to BBC as their religious affairs editor.
However, on May 14, 2021, Martin resigned from his long-held post, citing ongoing health issues. This news came on the same day the inquiry report was delivered to the corporation, but officials claim that the journalist had been on sick leave for several months. In fact, the 58-year-old has had to undergo quadruple heart bypass surgeries since late 2020 and has been seriously ill due to COVID 19-related complications. Martin had apparently informed his bosses of this decision in April.
Even though it’s been mere days, the former journalist, it seems, has now decided to step away from the fame and attention. Nevertheless, Martin did release a statement regarding the controversy, apologizing for “the fact that I asked for bank statements to be mocked up.” Then, he added, “It was a stupid thing to do and was an action I deeply regret. I also reiterate that the bank statements had no bearing whatsoever on the personal choice by Princess Diana to take part in the interview.”
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