Tag Archives: Rolf Harris

The Maggy Whitehouse Experiences – the stand-up comic who is also a vicar

Maggie says: “Most of the congregation are sheep… Literally”

Maggy Whitehouse bills herself as a “Maverick priest, comedian and author who believes in an All-Inclusive Loving Beingness that also kicks ass.”

 So, obviously, I wanted to talk to her.

So, obviously, we did – at Paddington station – when she was in London.

So we were, obviously, supposed to be talking about comedy but we ended up, obviously, talking about religion…

…and, no, she is not related to Mary Whitehouse…


JOHN: I tend to ramble when I chat to people..

MAGGY: I love rambling. Going off in different directions. Most of the congregation are sheep.

JOHN: Be careful what you get quoted saying!

MAGGY: No. Literally. I sometimes go out and practise a sermon at night, when I’m putting the chickens to bed. I will be in the paddock sermonising out loud and I will turn round and 30 pairs of sheep eyes are staring at me, from the field behind.

JOHN: You live a rural life on Dartmoor. Are you from there?

MAGGY: No. Harborne in Birmingham.

JOHN: And you were a producer for Carlton TV.

MAGGY: I did a couple of documentaries on China in the 1980s, because my dad was a railway expert and used to write books about steam engines. He founded the Birmingham Railway Museum. He went in to China in 1976 – as soon as it opened up – with my brother. After three or four years, my brother decided to get married. My father had no-one else to travel with, so he took me to China.

Suzi Quatro, Vince Hill and Caesarian scar sightings

I was already working as a radio presenter with Radio WM in Birmingham, then I moved over to BBC TV – Pebble Mill at One – as a producer. I joined them three months before they closed. Then I moved to Carlton TV and a terrible lunchtime show called Gas Street. It had Suzi Quatro and Vince Hill as presenters. That was a marriage made in Hell. Suzi was great fun: she used to show us her Caesarian scar and things like that.

JOHN: You met loads of famous people.

MAGGY: Yes. This was back in the politically incorrect days. I met Rolf Harris and he was disgusting.

JOHN: He had a reputation, back then, as a groper.

MAGGY: He used to push himself up against you and put his hands behind you and go “Woo-wugh-wugh-woo-wugh-wugh” like his wobbly board thing. Fortunately I was too old for Jimmy Savile. I just knew he was vile; he made my skin crawl.

JOHN: Steam engines got you into TV…

MAGGY: Yes. My dad got a commission to write a book on steam engines in China but they wanted a real coffee table book – not just all about the engines; more about travel. I had been travelling with him for six years by then – we went out every summer – so I wrote the book and he took the pictures.

Then I did two TV documentaries on steam engines in China and got lots of marriage proposals but Tiananmen Square happened and all future travel in China went out the window. And I had also met my first husband, Henry. He was a sound recordist. We got married and he was diagnosed with terminal cancer six months later – two months after Tiananmen Square – and by February the following year he was dead. So I lost husband and career within a year, which was a bit…

JOHN: Was this when you had a Road to Damascus and decided to become a vicar?

MAGGY: No. But I lost my faith then, really. I had been an armchair Christian. I just showed up at church occasionally at Christmas.

My husband Henry had been an atheist and, on his deathbed, the Catholic hospital chaplain said: “I’m sorry, my dear, but, if he’s an atheist who does not believe in Our Lord Jesus Christ, then he cannot go to heaven.”

THAT was a Road to Damascus moment, because I just thought: But that is wrong! Henry was a better person than I. He was kinder than I. He was far less of a trollop than I had ever been. I just thought: No! No! And I could not get a funeral for him that would reflect a little bit of faith. 

It had to be Church of England or Humanist back then and my family and his family would not go for Humanist so, basically, I walked up the aisle behind my young husband’s coffin hearing him damned to Hell. And I was thinking: This isn’t right! This isn’t right!

Most people might go into Atheism from that, but I went crazy and went into New Age – Buddhism and chakras and healing and that sort of thing.

JOHN: Kabbalah?

MAGGY: That came later.

JOHN: Did the New Age stuff help you?

MAGGY: Yes, because I learned about all sorts of alternative things and Healing was very interesting at this point.

Maggy’s business card (NOTE: Terms & conditions apply)

After a few years, I realised I was still FURIOUS with Christianity. The whole idea that, if you didn’t believe in Jesus, you didn’t go to heaven. And all the power and corruption which everybody alerts me to and I know about… But I realised what I had done was I had stuck all this in a nasty heap in the corner, put a nice pink blanket over it and covered it in tea lights and crystals and I was pretending it didn’t exist. I realised I was going to have to deal with it.

I also started having the opportunity to do funerals for people.

JOHN: You were a multi-faith funeral giver?

MAGGY: Sort of. A sort of self-taught one. I found a guy in London who taught me.

JOHN: Funerals? What needs teaching?

MAGGY: You have to be taught what not to say and how to deal with dead bodies and bereaved people. You are quite often going to be there when they are dying. I ended up being a hospice chaplain.

So I started putting myself around as a funeral person in London, where the work was. And I went to university to learn New Testament Greek because I thought: If I can read the New Testament in Greek, I might actually understand what this guy Jesus was on about and not have to rely on other people’s translations.

However, it turns out there are 32,000 versions of the New Testament in Greek.

JOHN: Not literally 32,000…

MAGGY: Yes, literally. Most of them are fragments. Only about 500 are full ones. But they are quite dramatically different.

JOHN: Are they all translated from the Aramaic or something?

MAGGY: No, they’re just different ways they wrote it down because, in those days, if somebody had written down one of the Gospels and wanted to copy it out, they would read it out loud and people would copy it down and they would make mistakes. 

JOHN: I remember reading or hearing somewhere that, in the original language, there is no definite or indefinite article. 

MAGGY: That’s right.

JOHN: So the phrase ‘Son of God’ does not necessarily mean THE Son of God, it can equally mean A Son of God. And we are all Sons (or Daughters) of God.

MAGGY: Yes. We are all children of God… and Christ is not Jesus’ surname… The Christ exists independently of Jesus.

JOHN: In the original, no-one was saying he was The Christ. They were saying he was a Son of God: he was a good man. The Moslems believe in Jesus as a prophet, don’t they?

MAGGY: Yes. In fact, he is mentioned in the Koran more than Mohammed is.

A sphere representing the Left Eye of God – inside the Cao Dai Tây Ninh Holy See in Vietnam.  (Photograph by Ernie Lo)

JOHN: The Cao Dai religion in Vietnam reveres Confucius, Jesus and Victor Hugo… I think because the French civil servant who created the religion rather liked the works of Victor Hugo.

MAGGY: Well, you should see my altar at home. It has Isis, Mary & Joseph and…

JOHN: Isis as opposed to ISIS

MAGGY: Yes. One of my friends Christened his daughter Isis eight years ago. It is a problem now…

(… CONTINUED HERE …)

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Critic Copstick on cocaine in kids’ TV + meeting Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris

Kate Copstick publicity shot for The Grouchy Club

Copstick publicity shot for The Grouchy Club

In yesterday’s blog, comedy critic Kate Copstick explained why she gave up her planned career as a lawyer because she lost faith in the legal system.

“So,” I asked, “then what did you decide you wanted to do?”

“I had always wanted to be an actress,” she told me at The Grouchy Club in Edinburgh. “So, when I got asked to do a play for no money, I said Yes. It was a piece by Pedro Calderón de la Barca with the snazzy title The House With Two Doors Is Hard To Guard. I played the comedy maid, which was when I discovered the joy of corsets.”

“Did you,” I asked, “want to be a comedy performer or an actress?”

“Oh, I wanted to be an actress,” she said. “I wanted to be Joan Crawford. I had posters on my wall of Debbie Harry, Joan Crawford and Bryan Ferry.

“But people preferred me trying to be funny. Then they kept asking me to write.”

“Why,” I asked, “would they ask you to write if you were an actress?”

“Because nobody believed I was really an actress. Also, I was so bossy that I tended to write and direct. It started off with me saying: Wouldn’t it be better if I said this…

Copstick, children’s favourite

Copstick, children’s favourite

“Then someone from Scottish Television saw me and I fronted a kids’ programme about the environment. Then I was asked down to London to present Play School for BBC TV.”

“Why?”

“They obviously just looked at me performing in my wig and my Ginger Rogers frock and thought: I would love to see this woman dressed as a penguin jumping up and down on children’s television.”

I told her: “I used to know someone who did Playbus. He went into porn.”

“Many of us did,” said Copstick.

“How long did you do Play School?” I asked.

Prim and proper Copstick

The prim, proper and always professional Copstick

“About four years, then I did a load of other kids’ programmes – Up Our Street, No 73…”

“Did you do that rude Christmas tape for No 73?” I asked.

“Everything was rude when you got behind the scenes,” said Copstick. “The very first place I ever encountered cocaine was on Play School.

“Because it was only pre-school television with small budgets, they didn’t give you any time for re-takes. Once you started recording, you had time to do two episodes back-to-back. That was it. No mucking about. No re-takes. So we rehearsed endlessly. One time, we did all the rehearsing including the songs and it was all lovely, all great, all timed to perfection. But when we recorded it, the show was a whole minute short and nobody could understand why.

Kate Copstick

Copstick first encountered cocaine in children’s television…

“It turned out that, between the rehearsals and the recording, the boys in the band had been in the dressing room enjoying some of Bolivia’s finest (cocaine) and all the songs had gone at almost twice the speed they had in the rehearsals.

“So the programmes were not just educational for the children, they were educational for me personally.

“I did this show called Whizz and got on Top of the Pops. We recorded the theme tune, released it as a single and, for some reason, it did really well in the charts. No-one could understand why until I went on Top of the Pops and somebody told me it had a massive student following because the hook line was Do the Biz, Do the Biz, With Whizz. None of the nice middle class ladies at the BBC realised Whizz/Wiz had any kind of double meaning whatsoever, but students thought it was fantastic.”

There is, sadly, no copy of this song on YouTube, but there is a video of Pulp singing Sorted For E’s and Wizz at Glastonbury.

“Was Jimmy Savile presenting Top of the Pops when you were on it?” I asked Copstick.

“No. It was Mike Read and Gary Davis. When I got to come down the chute onto the stage, there were all these girls. There were self-evidently 16-year-old girls who just went there in the hope that somebody famous would fondle their boobs.”

“You met Savile somewhere else?” I asked.

“I was doing a show called On The Waterfront up in Liverpool with Bernie Nolan (of The Nolan Sisters). She could drink more vodka on a night than anyone and get up at 7 o’clock the next morning looking like she was straight out of convent school. That girl had hollow legs. I’ve never met anyone who could drink like her.”

“You are too modest,” I said.

“She taught me everything I know!” said Copstick.

“And Savile?” I asked.

“On the show, I did a thing like Through The Keyhole, but it was called Through The Sunroof – I went into people’s cars. So I did Through The Sunroof with Jimmy Savile’s car and we had to go up to his house in Leeds and when I met him, instead of shaking my hand, he turned it over and licked the palm. Eurghh! Just loathsome. Some people you meet and you just know… And there was Rolf Harris, as well.”

Rolf Harris, much-loved children’s entertainer

Rolf Harris, former children’s entertainer

“You met Rolf?” I asked. “You must have been groped by Rolf. Everyone was groped by Rolf.”

“When he came on the show as a guest,” said Copstick, “we had a lovely young female director who used to wear trousers that had a rose trellis pattern. When Rolf came in, she was bending over to pick something up and he said: That’s a furrow I’d like to plough! He self-evidently was just a bit of a dirty old man which is not great, but I think there’s a difference between being a dirty old man and a paedophile.”

“He had a reputation for groping,” I said, “but I was surprised by the children.”

“I’ve kind of always thought,” said Copstick, “if you like grown-ups, you like grown ups; if you like kids, you like kids. It’s not really the same people. So, as an ex-lawyer, I was very surprised by the Rolf Harris verdict.

“I think, yet again, it’s the Establishment being so horrified and embarrassed that nobody did anything about Jimmy Savile or Cyril Smith or any of the other people they knew about but protected… that anybody they can now grab onto is going down because somebody has to and they can’t do anything about Savile because he’s dead.

Copstick at last month;s Edinburgh Fringe

Copstick at last month’s Edinburgh Fringe

“I’m sure all of us who are grown-up and female have had some hideous, ghastly, creepy uncle type stick his tongue in your ear before he should and you just go Ughh! but there’s a long, long way between that and being attacked. I think all the women who are lining up claiming Dave Lee Travis held their boobs are doing a terrible amount of damage to the people who really did suffer.

“It must be horrendous. I can’t imagine what it must have been like being one of these boys in the home that Cyril Smith went to. Or being in Stoke Mandeville Hospital and seeing Jimmy Savile wander across the ward towards you with his cock in his hand. Horrendous. Horrendous! But it’s not the same thing at all as a bit of a misjudgment.”

… CONTINUED HERE

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Sexual abuse: when women & children were seen as ‘fair game’? – in the past?

A British Rail poster ad from the past

A British Rail poster from the past, with paedophile pop star Gary Glitter

The last words of my blog yesterday were:

“The past does not exist, even though everything is interconnected by happenstance.”

Someone took exception when they read this yesterday and told me:

“You’re an idiot. Of course the past exists.”

Well, it doesn’t and it does…

Two days ago, I posted a blog headlined Rolf Harris, Jimmy Savile, Gary Glitter, Roman Polanski – and what it is like to be sexually assaulted as a child.

Yesterday, I got a response from ‘Sandy Mac’. This turned out to be someone I met at the Edinburgh Fringe last year. This is what she wrote yesterday:


I was born in 1946.

I was about seven years old or a bit younger and sometimes looked after by a neighbour with a small daughter. I rarely saw her husband but, on this occasion, he was at home.

He and I were in the front room sitting in front of the fire. Amidst the chat, I looked up to see this ‘thing’ in his hand which he urged me to touch.

I remember feeling uncertain, confused if not a bit frightened at what he was asking, although I didn’t know why.

I remember him saying: “Go on. It won’t bite.”

Then his wife called us to the kitchen to eat. I can’t remember how I felt after that as we all sat around the table.

I do know that I didn’t tell my mother, but I didn’t go to that house again.

A happy coincidence maybe, but no explanation was given.

In my early twenties, I remember working for one particular employer who was an absolute menace around women. He also wielded quite a lot of power. Not a happy combination. As well as witnessing my employer’s behaviour towards women at first hand, I heard accounts from other people too. This would have been in the mid-1960s.

That sadly was the climate of the times.

Police at that time, I remember, were loathe to intervene in cases of domestic violence. Oh how I applauded Erin Pizzey when she opened her first refuge in Chiswick in the early 1970s.

I was an ‘unmarried mother’ at sixteen and was sent to a mother and baby home, run by nuns in Stamford Hill.

The stigma was huge in 1962, only matched by my mother’s disappointment in me.

My daughter will be 52 this year with three boys of her own. She was reunited in Canada with her father and his lovely wife. She and her dad had about ten years to get to know one another. She was with him when he died a few years ago now.

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Rolf Harris, Jimmy Savile, Gary Glitter, Roman Polanski – and what it is like to be sexually assaulted as a child

Today’s headline in the Daily Mirror

Today’s headline in the Daily Mirror

Yesterday, children’s entertainer Rolf Harris was found guilty of twelve sexual assault charges dating back to the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, including an attack on a child of seven.

“He always had the reputation,” I said to a chum this morning, “of being a groper. And, I mean, feeling the breasts of 22 year-old secretaries is obviously bad, but this is a different level. Now, I suppose, we won’t see him in clips of any old programmes, just like the BBC now removes Jimmy Savile from any old Top of the Pops re-screenings.”

“It’s as if all my childhood memories are being trashed,” my chum said. “First of all it was Gary Glitter and Do You Wanna Be in My Gang? and I Love You Love and now it’s Rolf and Two Little Boys and Jake The Peg mit his extra leg.”

Spice World - an unseen section

They didn’t want Gary Glitter in the gang

“Well,” I said, “I loved the Spice Girls movie Spice World and that had a big sequence in it with Gary Glitter in Do You Wanna Be in My Gang? and they had to cut it out at the last moment before release because he got arrested and most of the Spice Girls’ fan base were pre-pubescent and only-just pubescent girls.”

“My friends in Germany used to come over every year to see Garry Glitter perform,” said my chum. “It was their big annual thing, like going to the Glastonbury Festival.”

“How old were they?” I asked.

“In their twenties, I guess. And there was a poster about reduced railway tickets for students. I asked at the railway station, got two of those and sent one to Germany. Obviously, I don’t have it up on the wall now and I haven’t played my Gary Glitter records since: I’ve got one of his LPs.”

A British Rail poster featuring Gary Glitter

A British Rail poster featuring Gary Glitter

“Why don’t you play the record?” I asked.

“Because all you’re aware of is that this person singing is this very unpleasant person who wants to use and abuse people, that sex is so trashed, debased turned into a nasty abusive thing.”

“But,” I said, “the music is still the same. If it was good before, it’s still good now, even if you know the guy was a nasty sexual predator. Just because you’re a mass murderer doesn’t mean you can’t produce a good piece of music or a great novel or a movie.”

“You’ve said that about Roman Polanski before,” my chum told me.

“Yes,” I said. “I think he should have his bollocks cut off and be thrown in a pit of vipers for the rest of his life. But it doesn’t change the fact Macbeth and Dance of The Vampires are great films and they should not suddenly be un-screened.”

Unlucky British Rail also used Jimmy Savile (centre back) in their ads

Unlucky British Rail also used Jimmy Savile (centre back) in their ads

“It’s irrelevant whether it’s good or not,” said my chum. “It’s a reminder of something nasty that has ruined that work of art. With Roman Polanski, he (normally) is not actually starring in the films and most people aren’t aware who directed a film. It’s not like Gary Glitter or Rolf Harris or Jimmy Savile who are up there performing in front of you as themselves. Once you know something about someone, it changes your perception and you can’t un-know it.

“The thing is my experience of… It’s not a heavy one like other people you know… But, on the beach when I was nine or ten, we were all by the chewing gum machines and it was dark and late and the parents were off in the house chatting. And there was this man – he might have been only a teenager himself, but he seemed a grown man to me – he was putting change in the chewing gum machine.

“I was walking on the beach about twenty yards away from the other kids, somehow. And he said Hold my finger and I realised it wasn’t his finger, cos it was without a bone in it. It was squidgy.

“I was only a kid and all I knew was there was something alarming about it. Something unpleasant and you realised Oh! a bit like the ice cracking underneath you if you were on ice. Or Oh shit! The road’s falling away. Oh dear! Trouble! Nasty! It’s like you’re treading on ordinary ground and then Oh, no! This is wrong! This isn’t right! How do I save myself from this?

“It was nothing that I even understood. You don’t really understand anything at nine or ten. This adult is intending to do something. You hadn’t wanted to hold someone’s finger. They’ve even lied to you to get you to do something. Your mind is with all the other kids like Let’s run round in circles and then run round in the other direction! You’re on that level and suddenly… It is a nasty thing and in one’s consciousness your brain is suddenly aware of Alarm! Danger! – What’s this?

“And,” I suggested, “you don’t quite know what the danger is?”

“Yes. You’re completely in your own little world as a kid. You just know something is not good. Nothing hurt. He wasn’t nasty to me. He didn’t say nasty things… You never forget it happened. If something worse had happened, it must be like…”

She paused.

“Did you tell your parents?” I asked.

“No. Why didn’t I tell them? There’s a feeling that someone’s done something wrong. Something’s gone wrong. If a dog had come and bit me or even just frightened me, I’d have told them Oh! That dog’s frightening me! but, for some reason… It’s as if you don’t know if maybe you have done something wrong yourself. I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong. But it was like you are in a complete sleep and you suddenly wake up and find yourself in a slight nightmare of Oh! What’s this? Oh no! This isn’t right! I just turned round and walked away. I realised it wasn’t his finger. I think that’s what woke me up to the danger.”

The deleted Spice World sequence featuring Gary Glitter is on YouTube.

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The Rolf Harris sex ‘arrest’ – Why was he NOT named and why did the police bring Jimmy Savile’s name into it?

Yesterday’s front page Sun exclusive

Yesterday’s front page Sun ‘exclusive’

Yesterday, the Sun newspaper ran what it called a World Exclusive under the headline.

ROLF HARRIS SEX ABUSE ARREST

To most people, the word ‘arrest’ means that someone was detained, was charged and will appear in court in the very near future.

But the police now seem to be using the word ‘arrest’ in a very non-colloquial way. What they seem to mean by ‘arrest’ in any high-profile case – especially anything within an intercontinental ballistic missile’s reach of the headline-grabbing Jimmy Savile paedophile story – is that they have simply questioned someone under caution in a trawl for evidence.

Having a headline saying ‘arrest’ makes it seem that the police are actually doing something. They are indeed doing something, but there is an element of PR-led bullshit rapidly creeping in here.

Yesterday’s Sun story:

WORLD EXCLUSIVE
ROLF HARRIS SEX ABUSE ARREST
TV LEGEND, 83, QUIZZED OVER ASSAULT CLAIM

was more complicated than it seemed.

The Daily Express front page this morning

The Daily Express front page today

The story was actually that the UK TV star Rolf Harris “was held” (note the Sun’s use of the past tense) “over historic sex abuse allegations by police from the inquiry set up following the Jimmy Savile scandal”

There is obfuscation here, again caused by the police’s PR-led attempts to show they are actively doing something.

In fact, the Sun story ‘revealed’ that police had raided Rolf Harris’ home on 24th November last year (he was not there), interviewed him under caution on 29th November last year and arrested him on 28th March this year.

As far as I am aware, this ‘arrest’ means he was questioned under caution, not that he was actually charged with anything nor with any court date pending.

The police were quoted in yesterday’s Sun as saying: “The individual falls under the strand of the investigation we have termed ‘others’.”

The police started off investigating the Jimmy Savile paedophile case and people connected to that. Then, quite rightly, they started investigating totally unconnected claims of (particularly media-connected) non-paedophile sexual incidents brought to their attention.

These cases are labelled by them as ‘others’. But, by saying that ‘the Savile enquiry police’ are investigating these ‘others’, the police PR machine implies the cases are connected directly to the paedophile investigation and this (presumably intentionally) gets the police ‘brownie points’ in the public’s eye.

What interested me, though, was that the Rolf Harris arrest story was not new.

As the Sun reported yesterday in their Rolf Harris ‘exclusive’, “Harris has been named on social media sites by hundreds of thousands of people” and “the world’s media have been camped outside his home since he was first questioned”.

Their story concluded with the line: “Other celebrities arrested include Freddie Starr, Jim Davidson, Dave Lee Travis, PR guru Max Clifford — who all deny wrongdoing — and Gary Glitter.”

The difference, though, is that when those people were questioned – or “arrrsted” as the police phrased it – they were named in newspapers.

The original detention by police of Rolf Harris WAS reported when it happened, but the reports did not name him. Variations of the phrase “prominent children’s entertainer” were used. Why?

On my Facebook page yesterday, referring to the Rolf Harris arrest report in the Sun, I posted:

The only surprise is… Why was this not reported last November?

This resulted in an online conversation between one of my Facebook Friends and writer Harry Rogers.

I reprint it here in full with their permission:

Rolf Harris, much-loved children’s entertainer

Rolf Harris, iconic children’s entertainer

Facebook Friend: It’s wrong to name. The man has not even been charged, let alone found guilty.

John Fleming: Everyone else was named. In this case, variations on the phrase “prominent children’s TV presenter” were used.

Facebook Friend: John, again it’s not impossible someone wishes to cash in on his fame, to set up so to speak.

John Fleming: In this specific case, it’s relevant that I worked in television for several companies… But my point is why were others named but not him?

Facebook Friend: So are you saying name and shame without even being charged? That surely is not reasonable!

John Fleming: I tend to agree. But I am saying either name or do not name. Why were the others named and not Rolf?

Harry Rogers’ current Facebook profile picture

Harry Rogers’ current Facebook profile picture

Harry Rogers: Probably ‘cos he had had such close access to the Royals

Facebook Friend: John, I hear what you are saying, but I don’t feel anyone should be named unless found guilty

John Fleming: Again, I tend to agree with you. But why was Rolf, almost uniquely, not named?… I actually agree with you. There should be anonymity. But, if there is not, then everyone should be reported equally.

Harry Rogers: The BBC reported there were legal restrictions until today and now those restrictions have been eased, otherwise he would have been outed before today

John Fleming: It would be interesting to know what the restrictions were. A super-injunction?

Facebook Friend: The same stigma for men accused of rape. Woman not named, but sometimes they make up stories. The law needs addressing. It’s outdated.

Harry Rogers: Wait and see

Facebook Friend: The sad thing about all of this now is that a man in his eighties will now be remembered for sex charges, as opposed to decades of being a wholesome hugely talented entertaining individual.

Harry Rogers: And if he is guilty? Then what….

Facebook Friend: Well, if guilty very sad because he will be judged as a person for that and not for his wonderful contribution as artist, entertainer and indeed as a well known animal lover.

Harry Rogers: As such a person that you describe he should have known better, if guilty. It is an abuse of privilege that allows many celebrities to believe that somehow they are different to everybody else, but the reality is that they are the same as the plumber or the school caretaker and should be treated accordingly.

Facebook Friend: Harry, this is subject for debate. An error of judgement perhaps 40 or 50 years ago, although not condoning, surely is not revealing of a person’s real character necessarily.

Harry Rogers: Tell that to the Nazis still hiding even now after the holocaust and those who spend their lives hunting them down. If sex offenders had not given way to their proclivities there would be no story here. Sexual abuse and violence are things which harm people for years. As a teenage boy I was raped by a minor pop star and said nothing for years because I felt ashamed, however it did cause me a lot of grief. You think Rolf deserves to be let off for a minor indiscretion, if he did it. If he did do it then he abused a position of trust and power and deserves to face the music. Sun arise early in the morning.

Facebook Friend: I hear what you are saying Harry. Let’s say his crime was just wanking a boy off 40 years ago. Would that be reasonable to pursue charges now? I am not so sure. If it was rape of a child that of course is another matter… My main concern is the naming and shaming before a verdict! Undemocratic

Harry Rogers: I hardly think the police would be wasting so much time and effort if that was the case, but, in terms of naming and shaming, Rolf Harris can easily come forward and defend himself. There isn’t a TV or media outlet that wouldn’t give him a platform to tell his story… And, anyway, child wanking is still an abuse of power

Facebook Friend: Harry, this is the problem. Police keep on wasting time and public money.

Harry Rogers: The pursuit of child sex offenders is not a waste of public money… As a tax payer this is one police activity I am in favour of

Facebook Friend: Harry you are right. My main concern is the naming and shaming before a verdict

Harry Rogers: As I say if he is innocent then let him stand up and deny it and if that is proved to be true then let him sue the accusers for bundles.

John Fleming: I would be surprised (guessing from what I know) if there is any accusation of child sex abuse in the Rolf Harris case. I would be very surprised if it involved boys or under-age girls. The police say it is not directly related to the Savile case; it comes under their ‘others’ category.

Facebook Friend: The accusers probably don’t have millions. It might be the Michael Jackson case that made people think they might cash in

Harry Rogers: Speculation is dangerous

Facebook Friend: So what should I do Rolf Harris is my Facebook friend?

Harry Rogers: Justice is important. The BBC is putting its neck on the line by running the story again so soon after the Savile debacle… As for Facebook, it’s probably best if we all wait and see. I have no idea what the accusations are, neither do I know whether he is guilty of anything, I am prepared to wait and see what happens, however I am interested in the fact that he has been arrested and will watch this case with the view of an abuse victim to see how it pans out. The fact that we know his name is meaningless. It is the evidence that counts. And we are all adults so we are able to make up our minds about it provided it is all out in the open.

Facebook Friend: My problem with this is a man now in his eighties cannot walk the streets in fear of attack etc. This has to be wrong!

Harry Rogers: Rubbish

Facebook Friend: I don’t think so

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