As the current revelations concerning the activities of Sir Jimmy Savile serve to remind us the sexual abuse of children is repellent. For those furth of the UK Sir Jimmy Savile is a now dead DJ and entertainer who, it has now been revealed to the general public, had a long history of taking sexual advantage of young girls.
What makes it worse, if that were possible, is that rumours and reports of his behaviour were ignored by the production staff of his employers the BBC, the UK’s state funded broadcaster. One senior BBC presenter at the time said: “I always thought he was a horrible man, quite frankly. We all knew he was up to something – we just didn’t know what.” Even knowing the rumours, the BBC put Savile into programmes where he would of necessity be in contact with young girls.
At the time his fame effectively silenced those around him, not only the girls in their early teens who were his victims but also the responsible adults in the BBC who should have intervened. This reluctance of the BBC management to expose paedophiles in their employ and thus tarnish their brand name is reminiscent of the actions of some amongst the Roman Catholic hierarchy.
Recently the BBC gave us wall to wall coverage when a fifteen year old girl went off to France with her schoolteacher. However, when one of its own celebrities is revealed to be a child abuser and probably the cause of at least one teenage suicide then it only spoke up after other broadcasting companies broke the news and forced their hand.
An expose had been planned recently for Newsnight the BBC flagship news and current affairs programme. This was pulled. Peter Rippon the editor of the programme said, “Newsnight is not normally interested in celebrity exposé… What was the public interest served by reporting it, given he is dead? The nature of the allegations and the level of proof required. The fact [is] the incidents were 40 years ago.”
Thus the BBC’s high minded reason for attempting to continue the cover up of paedophilia amongst its employees is: “We are makers of intellectually stimulating programmes dealing with affairs of state. We are not smutty muckrakers, we are above that sort of thing.” Although they are clearly not above covering up paedophilia.
As excuses for paedophilia Rippon’s rivals Whoopie Golberg’s defence of Roman Polanski the sexually deviant film director. According to Goldberg what Polanski did to Samantha Geimer was perhaps wrong but was not “rape-rape.” “I know it wasn’t rape-rape. It was something else but I don’t believe it was rape-rape.”
The 43 year old Polanski merely got a thirteen year old girl drunk on champagne, fed her drugs and then whilst she was unconscious sodomised her. Definitely not rape, it must have been “something else.”
Goldberg elaborated “We’re a different kind of society, we see things differently.” In this she was right, the anointed idols of our times do constitute a different society and most certainly they do see things differently. Goldberg was not alone in her defence of the child rapist, over 100 Hollywood figures including Martin Scorcese and Woody Allen signed a petition asking for clemency for Polanski.
The rich and famous have always lived with the comfortable illusion that they are above the petty concerns and rules governing the lives of the little people. When they live in the progressive bubbles that are the BBC and Hollywood they can be sure that they stand a good chance that their indulgence in “something else” will be covered up or excused.
Child abuse in the Roman Catholic church was rightly exposed and condemned. We need the same kind of spotlight to be shone on the entertainment industry. Will we ever have stand up comics making the same jokes about the sexual behaviour of stand up comics that they do about priests?