A former BBC producer appeared to compare "womanising" with "paedophilia" when he was challenged about the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Wilfred De'ath said society had "changed enormously" since he decided not to tell corporation bosses about Savile's behaviour.
De'ath was one of 11 people arrested as part Operation Yewtree but was released without charge on Monday.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, he said the investigation, prompted by the abuse claims against Jimmy Savile, was "getting silly".
"Society has changed enormously in the last 50 years, and there isn't the sensitivity about, let's say, womanising or paedophilia that there is now," he said.
He told presenter John Humphrys: "We were all womanisers in those days.
"I was a womaniser, you were probably a womaniser - but as far as I know, it's not a criminal offence."
His comments generated an angry reaction on twitter.
Asked about Savile, De'ath said he was "pretty disgusted" he had not done more to tackle the DJ at the time but admitted he would never have dreamed of "grassing him up", despite confronting him over his behaviour.
Pressed about a previous admission that he had challenged Savile about spending the night with a girl who was possibly as young as 10 years old, he said: "I confronted him on the evening of transmission, I did say that to him, I said 'I think you are living dangerously'. He said 'oh, no, no, no' and he just brushed me off.
"I keep saying this but the culture in those days was so different, it would never have occurred to me to go to the head of the department.
"I was pretty shocked and disgusted. I, at that time, was a happily married man with my wife and daughter in Hampstead and I was pretty shocked and appalled."
De'ath, who is in his 70s, was arrested in Cambridgeshire on November 11.
He said: "It was a different culture in the mid sixties. Sexual matters were taken much more lightly, there wasn't the sensitivity that there is now."
De'ath said he was "physically frightened of Savile" adding: "I have to be honest and say I wouldn't have dreamed of going and grassing him up.
"I do slightly regret it but then it was common talk in the corridors of Broadcasting House. It was common talk that he liked young girls."
He added: "I am pretty disgusted, if I am honest with myself I am full of self loathing that I didn't do anything about it at the time."
De'ath said he believed that police were over-compensating now because they failed to get Savile at the time.
"As Jim Davidson says it is getting silly now. It really is getting silly."