has resigned from the BBC
, just as the broadcaster prepares to release a report on how the journalist obtained a sensational television interview with Princess Diana
He'd been out of work for several months due to illness.
Bashir is accused of duping Diana into speaking with him on “Panorama,” a British news program, by forging documents in order to manipulate her. During the interview, Diana revealed unhappy details about her marriage to Prince Charles
, which had by then broken down beyond repair but was still a year away from a formal end.
Diana explained, "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a little crowded."
According to The New York Times, who obtained a copy of the memo, the BBC's deputy director of news, Jonathan Munro, stated in a memo to staff on Friday that Bashir "let us know of his decision last month, just before being readmitted to hospital for another surgical procedure on his heart."
Munro went on to say that Bashir had "major surgery" in late 2020 and was still "facing some ongoing issues," prompting him to make the decision "to focus on his health
The BBC announced in November that it would investigate how Bashir obtained the interview after Charles Spencer, Diana's brother, claimed the journalist used deceptive tactics. Tim Davie, the BBC's director general, said at the time that the broadcaster was taking the accusations "very seriously."
The investigation was welcomed by Diana's son, Prince William
, who stated that it "should help establish the truth."
According to reports, a 1996 investigation into how Bashir persuaded Diana to meet with him exonerated the journalist.
Spencer, on the other hand, claims that Bashir made a series of false claims that led him to introduce the journalist to his sister. According to Spencer, Bashir claimed that Diana was being bugged by security services and that two senior aides were being paid to provide information about her, even producing bank statements as alleged evidence.
Lord John Dyson, a retired British judge, has been appointed to lead the new investigation, which will be “published soon,” according to a BBC spokesman.
Last fall, the BBC apologized for falsifying bank statements, but said it had reason to believe the documents had no impact on Diana's decision to sit for the interview because she had not seen them herself.
Bashir joined the BBC in 1987 and eventually moved to the United States, where he was forced to resign as an anchor for MSNBC
after calling Sarah Palin a "world-class idiot" in 2013. In 2016, he became the BBC's religion editor. Bashir contracted COVID-19
last year and became "seriously unwell" as a result of the virus' complications.