Monday, October 29, 2012

Savile Scandal

Jimmy Savile was a DJ and broadcaster in the 1960's and 1970's. He was incredibly popular, and known to my generation as a weird but charitable man who made people's dreams come true in his show "Jim 'll Fix It". It turns out that he was a sexual predator who may have abused myriad young girls. A television programme recently revealed the alleged crimes of the star, who died one year ago today, and there has been intense media frenzy ever since.

We are shocked and disgusted by Jimmy Savile's behaviour, all the more so because we thought he had been a positive force in the charity world, e.g., raising c. £40 million for various organisations. What I don't understand is the hysteria engendered by this discovery. This weekend, the Guardian reported that dozens of celebrities are frightened that they will be implicated in the scandal. Also, the Catholic Church of England,

"... has contacted the Holy See to ask if the papal knighthood awarded to (Savile) could be removed"
(the rest of the article may be found here.)

How many priests within the church have committed similar crimes? Where are the public requests to the Holy See for action against those men? Do the leaders of the Church believe that making a big deal about one public figure will be compensation to all the victims of the everyday non-famous perpetrators? For crying out loud, turn that energy and interest to the parishioners who need your protection and support!

Meanwhile, what about publicist Max Clifford's comment in the Guardian article:

"I am hoping that the real predators are the ones we are going to find out about ... not people that were randy young pop stars in the 1960s, 70s and 80s even, that had women throwing themselves at them everywhere they went, because that is a whole different area and a whole different situation. No one had heard the word 'paedophile' in those days"

Since the women were "throwing themselves", the men had no power to resist? Ok, we know about rock culture, groupies, etc. I do get uncomfortable, though, with the inference that the women wanted it so that made it ok. It's not a question of my being overly PC here. It is to do with the current and past lack of protection for vulnerable people who come into contact with the entertainment world. It has always been the case that fame and celebrity seem to breed indulgence when it comes to immoral behaviour. There are no 'real' and 'unreal' predators. If lives have been damaged and destroyed by those "randy young pop stars", and speaking out about it might bring healing, why not? Except of course that is an utterly naive and idealistic perspective, since what will probably feed a call for such revelation is more likely to be the economic aspirations of the tabloids.

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