Archive | May, 2013

The Dangers McCarthyism, Devil Dogs and Celebrity Abusers

3 May

I know this blog may be quite contentious but I really feel I had to say something about certain accusations that keep emerging in the press about male celebrities of a certain age and the term “historic abuse.”

I am not for one single minute saying that Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall were not guilty and do not deserve all the disgust and condemnation that is being cast in their direction.

I do think though, that comparing a serial lifelong child molester with a man who admitted he had enjoyed the company of many women, and now has one unproven allegation from 46 years ago of a then 15 year old girl, just because these two men happen to be famous is decidedly dangerous ground.

We must be very careful we do not fall prey to the ‘devil dog mentality.’  By this I refer to when the rottweilers and pit bull attacks were in the newspaper daily.  Not a day seemed to pass without some rabid dog attacking a child.  Hysteria around any subject always means the incidents being reported and hyped it becomes the cause celebre of the moment.

My one concern is, the Jimmy Savile incident has created a new ‘devil dog.’  Dreadful incidents of historic abuse may well come to light but also are we running the risk of wrongly accusing people who have made themselves an easy target to anybody who wants to gain their fifteen minutes of fame and their fifteen grand into the bargain.

The backlash suffered by the BBC after their flagrant unspoken acceptance of Savile’s behaviour will result in any accusation against any male celebrity of a ‘certain age’ being sent to trial even though the evidence may be weak to non-existent.

We must be very careful to always uphold the maxim of innocent until proven guilty.  We must never send justice down the McCarthy witch hunt path.  I wonder if we are in danger of embarking on that road now?

I visited Salem a few years ago and Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible keeps playing in my mind.

I do have to wonder how difficult it must be to prove a particular one-off incident from forty six years ago and if we are going to start judging the sixties morals from our standpoint of 2013 then this really will open the floodgates.  Please tell me when Bill Wyman is going to be arrested, where are the charges against Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis?  The list of celebrity criminals would be ad infinitum.

Child abuse and rape are crimes of the most heinous and repulsive nature and for a victim to come forward it must be beyond horrific.  My worry is this hysteria and obsession with ‘celebrity abuse’ will ultimately backfire and these dreadful crimes could become cheapened.

We must not let the furore over the dreadful monster that was Jimmy Savile blind our good sense and judgement.Image