A little while ago, I wrote a blog about Rolf Harris being arrested in connection with Operation Yewtree. The problem was that Mr Harris had not been named, widely, in the press, or much at all, which was kinda the point of my post. I was not concerned that this was a problem with reference to my blog, but other people were. I was warned that publishing my thoughts might not be wise, and that there could be some small risk of being sued. I didn’t care, but other people, who matter very much to me, did care somewhat. I didn’t blog. I rather wish that I had.
Anyway, here, now, is the blog. I feel that it’s too late, and that I am as guilty as anyone else of treating Mr Harris differently from other people.
Two Little Boys had Two Little Toys...
Or two grown men had two little girls...
When I heard that an eighty-two year old Australian man, resident in Berkshire, was being questioned in connection with operation Yewtree, it didn’t take me more than a moment to work out that it was probably Rolf Harris. It took only another couple of minutes to put ‘Rolf Harris Yewtree’ into google and have the dots joined by several journalists, including, I believe, someone from the Telegraph, although I’m struggling to track down that source.
It’s shocking, though, isn’t it? For lots of reasons.
I don’t know what will come of all this. I believe that, so far, at least, the police haven’t confirmed that they’ve interviewed Mr Harris. I wonder why not. Generally, I understood that these things were confirmed. Nobody had any qualms about putting pictures of Stuart Hall (although not part of Operation Yewtree), Jim Davidson, Dave Lee Travis, Max Clifford and, of course, Jimmy Savile in the newspapers.
I’ve been waiting for about a fortnight to hear more on this story, and there hasn’t been a murmur. If you’re not tracking it, if you’re not looking for it, you won’t see it. How many of you had heard about it before reading this blog, this morning?
Of course, if it isn’t true, if he wan’t arrested and his house wasn’t searched, that’s fine. Let’s put it down to gossip. I apologise if I’ve spoilt your day. I didn’t mean to imply that Rolf Harris has ever done anyone any harm. On the other hand, if he was arrested, and his house was searched, and it’s in the public interest to report on these things, and other celebrity arrests were reported then why wasn’t this one?
Is there a double standard? If there’s a double standard where is it coming from?
If it’s about popularity, then it’s nonsense. I don’t care how well-loved a celebrity is if he’s committed a crime. I don’t care who’s who; if one arrest is reported then all of those arrested should be treated equally. If the police disclose one name to the press they should disclose all names. Why should one person get special treatment?
It is easy, with hindsight, to suggest that Jimmy Savile was a peculiar little man, that he was strange and that his behaviour could have been recognised and stopped. With hindsight, he doesn’t seem terribly plausible with his odd mannerisms and his tacky wardrobe. Rolf Harris, on the other hand...
We don’t like it do we?
The problem is, we can all spot the obvious weirdoes. We can all do something about the weirdoes, even if it’s only steer clear of them. When the offender is a charming, educated, groomed, plausible, lovely man what are we to do then?
The problem is, the really successful conmen, and these people, men and women, are conmen first and foremost, learn to be groomed and charming, and plausible and lovely. Jimmy Savile did what he did in plain sight and got away with it because he had status. He might not have been quite as successful in his criminal pursuits had he lived in the ‘real’ world, because he would have been seen as a weirdo, and people might well have steered clear.
When these criminals are finally brought to book, their friends, families, neighbours and coworkers are often shocked, stunned even, that they could commit such terrible crimes, because they were always such charming, lovely, clean-living, caring people.
You bet they were.
Appearing to be the nicest people in the World is exactly how these people get what they want.