BBC bosses have apologized to Bob Geldof over a televised report suggesting money raised by the rocker's 1985 Live Aid concerts was spent on weapons for Ethiopia's rebel army. The former Boomtown Rats star was horrified to discover a BBC programme broadcast in the U.K. in March reported the $240 million raised by the gigs and the Band Aid record was divided up by rebel army leader Meles Zenawi - who is now Ethiopia's prime minister - and used to arm militants in the country.
The rocker furiously denied the claims and filed an official complaint, and after a lengthy probe, BBC bosses ruled they had no evidence to back up the report and the show should never have been broadcast. A statement from the network's spokesperson says, "The BBC accepts we should have been more explicit in making it clear that the allegations did not relate specifically to Band Aid. We are looking at lessons that can be learnt."
Geldof adds, "Since their inception over 26 years ago, Band Aid and Live Aid have been subject to meticulous governance, auditing and independent reviews. The BBC's misleading and unfair coverage had the potential to be extremely damaging to public faith, not only in Band Aid, but also other charitable campaigns and people's willingness to donate their cash to disaster funds."
"We welcome the BBC's apologies and hope that the public corrections can begin to repair some of the appalling damage done, and move forward."