The Sachsgate scandal revealed "unforgivably cavalier" attitudes at the BBC, according to the outgoing chairman of the BBC Trust.
Jonathan Ross was suspended for 12 weeks without pay in 2008 after he and Russell Brand left obscene messages on Andrew Sachs' answerphone, which were broadcast on Brand's Radio 2 show.
Sir Michael Lyons has described the affair as a "uniquely toxic combination of profanity, misogyny, bullying and black farce" at the London School of Economics.
In what was one of his last speeches before his term ends on April 30, Sir Michael said the last few years were "one of the BBC's strong periods", but admitted there had been some "memorable cock-ups".
Sir Michael said: "Ross-Brand exposed an unforgivably cavalier attitude to editorial standards in some parts of the BBC, and seemed, for some, to suggest that the BBC had lost its moral compass."