After a summer of success with London 2012, the BBC finds itself in troubled waters and will be sweating quite a bit after recent claims that former Radio 1 DJ and TV presenter, Sir Jimmy Savile, abused children during his years working for the media corporation.
Many women, and recently a man, have come forward to claim that the ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ star, who died in 2011, abused them as children and teenagers. Allegations against the star include molestation and rape with some former employees coming forward to say they witnessed indiscretions when entering Savile’s dressing room.
Jimmy was able to get to minors freely with his popular children’s show, making many youngsters’ wishes a reality in the 60s and 70s, but should we automatically assume that he is guilty of indecent behaviour with children just because he was often surrounded by them? Probably not. But then when you look further into the life of Savile, can anyone be blamed for having a slight inkling that he might have had strange relations with children after he came out in support of pop star Gary Glitter after he was found with child pornography, saying: “He just watched a few dodgy films and was only vilified because he was a celebrity… It were for his own gratification. Whether it was right or wrong is up to him as a person. But they didn’t do anything wrong.”
Furthermore, is it right to have these claims come to light when the man is dead and cannot defend himself over the allegations that are being made against him? For those who do not know, the media can say something damning about a person when they’re dead without the risk of a hefty law suit, if they are not intended to harm the remaining family, due to the fact that libellous claims can only be defended by the targeted person. An ideal situation for the media, but hell for the family he left behind.
If the BBC was aware of such behaviour going on, in or out of their studios, wouldn’t it have been deemed the right thing to fire the man and make sure he was properly punished? These days, it doesn’t take much for action to be taken against anyone who might be known to be a paedophile or a danger to children. Should it make a difference if someone is a celebrity? Surely they have a responsibility to be role models to society and uphold the values of certain things. I’m sure that anyone working for the BBC, whether famous or otherwise, has to keep a respectable appearance both in and out of the work place so that it does not affect the company.
So why would Savile be protected? I don’t think it’s ever been seen as right for an adult to abuse a position of trust around children nor will it ever be. Recent employees and alleged victims have come forward saying that they were silenced and told to think about the “media circus” that would occur if anyone went to the press. But, as the saying goes, the truth always comes out in the end.
One way or another, I presume that the police will be looking into the claims and reviewing them. At the end of the day though, what can be done? Appropriate punishment for Jimmy Savile cannot be done as he is dead. Will the BBC be facing fines if the rumours of a cover up are true? Will we be seeing former executives arrested or even jailed?
One thing’s for sure, this case is not over yet and it sure will be a media circus.