Rolf Harris: Sexual Predator Hidden Behind Gentle Facade
It was with heavy heart that I read of Rolf Harris’ being convicted of 12 counts of indecently assaulting four young girls and the reality of the Australian performer turning out to be yet another sexual predator hidden behind a gentle facade. Unlike the man who started Operation Yewtree off, Jimmy Savile, Harris did not look like the sort who would grope young girls, the entertainer looked as though he could be anyone’s favorite uncle and incapable of hurting a fly.
If you live in America you can be forgiven if you haven’t heard about the Jimmy Savile uproar here in England. After all there is a lot of water between the two countries and I’m pretty sure most Americans have never seen “Jim’ll Fix It” or even heard of it.
*it’s interesting to note that after the resultant scandal involving Savile’s sexual escapades with underage girls that the title of his old Show, Jim’ll Fix It, now sounds like the prelude or a punch line to a dirty joke. I suppose that with new “evidence” being unearthed almost daily it has.*
Jimmy Savile had been a national institution in England for years. This eccentric DJ who raised millions for charity and was universally loved by most of the country for his seemingly never-ending generosity has turned out to be “a kiddie fiddler” in sheep’s clothing; at least according to the many people who are coming forward after his death to point an accusatory finger at him.
These posthumous accusations have resulted in the “Knight of the Realm” in being publicly vilified and his reputation is in tatters. His surviving family have been rocked by the news and the public (and the BBC) have been busily taking down plaques and signs that glorified Sir Jimmy’s works and deeds.
It is interesting to see another country besides Russia making a public person disappear. Will England go as far as “Ivan” and eradicate Savile’s physical presence from old publicity photo’s?
I wouldn’t be surprised.
Now don’t get me wrong. It makes me feel quite ill to think of anyone sexualizing young underage girls. It makes perfect sense that entertainers like Gary Glitter (real name Paul Gadd) should be sent to prison for having sex with minors. It’s called child abuse and it is illegal. Not to mention immoral. But Glitter despite his similarity to Savile is still alive. Savile is not and he cannot, therefore be tried for his alleged crimes.
What is interesting about the whole thing is how former “colleagues” of Sir Jimmy are “coming forward” to tell anyone who will listen about how they knew all along that Jim was messing with young underage girls. “They wanted to say something, they really did, but Jimmy was a public institution. Who would believe them?” In an earlier day and age that would have been, sadly, true. In most cases, back in the 70’s (When Jim’ll Fix It was in its heyday and Savile was still a very public figure) people would not have believed that such a thing went on.
But that sort of naivety is astonishing. At the bottom line of all the allegations, the vast majority of which centre around his dealing with young girls on his Jim’ll Fix It show, the show itself was on television. And what is television? It is part of the entertainment industry. And what is the entertainment industry well-known for? Sexual advances to young women (and men) aka “the casting couch.”
Especially in television there have always been the tales (told out of school, of course) about sexual advances, favours, and acts being exchanged, forced, or implied as part of a contractual agreement. Okay, so I am talking about actors and actresses here, folks who know about the less savoury aspects of working on television, but really most folks like directors and producers and other assorted members of any film crew etc will know of the practises that go on.
The fact that these “knowledgeable” colleagues are only coming forward now is reprehensible and disgusting. Why? Because if they did really know what he was up to, they should have said so then; even if they had waited till Savile had retired, it would have been more admirable and given the authorities a chance to investigate. Savile could have defended himself and, more importantly, been punished or acquitted via the legal system. His alleged victims could then have the closure they so desperately need.
Now that he has passed on, the legal system and the BBC have instigated a “closing the barn door after the bull’s got out” type of witch-hunt where they are arresting and questioning a lot of celebrities who have had access to underage girls. This act of “tarring with the same brush” is not only unfair, but the publicity it is garnering is harmful to the people involved.
Fair enough if they are guilty as charged but if they are innocent? If this knee jerk reaction to the Sir Jimmy Savile debacle is anything to go by, we are heading towards dangerous ground friends and neighbours.
The public are heading to that “overly sensitive” awareness of child abuse (in the sexual area) that got America in so much trouble a few years back. Have we forgotten how “well-meaning” therapists and psychiatrists misdiagnosed entire day care facilities of ritualised child abuse in the form of Satanic ceremonies and child porn? Just type in Child Care Sex Abuse Hysteria into your Google search engine and an entry to Wikipedia will list 13 day care facilities that were hit by this.
In a world where the media sexualises children to a huge extent, we need to be careful to look at the source and not chase non-existent “boogey-men” or create an “over awareness” of the problem. We need to be dealing with the media that consistently sexualises children.
As sad and horrible as the accusations against the late Jimmy Savile are, we need to keep everything in perspective here. These accusations and allegations are not proven, nor are they likely to be. The witch-hunting by the press, police and the BBC are still ongoing. Everyone needs to take a breath and step back from the whole sordid mess.
A newspaper blogger has opined that if you were abused by Savile, the best course of action might be to be quiet about it. The issue was that you would never get closure and would be tagged as a victim, a wounded soul who deserved sympathy rather than the person that you are. A valid point in this case.
It is my honest opinion that the folks in the business who are now coming forward to state that they knew this was going on should be vilified. If they couldn’t be brave or upstanding enough to say something when it would have accomplished something apart from publicity, they should pay a price. It makes common sense.
No one has ever been rewarded for yelling fire after the house has burned down. And neither should they benefit from shouting abuse after the individual named can no longer be punished by the law.