When accusations of abuse in the entertainment industry are reported in the news, there often follows a familiar pattern of responses. As the details emerge, there is the initial shock along with expressions of either denial or regret from the perpetrator.
Then come the statements from the institutions in which they operated, saying that lessons have been learnt and that it can’t be allowed to happen again. Such assurances may be meant sincerely, but it’s hard not to lose faith. This is because the stories of abuse just keep on coming.
This year brings the most bitter of anniversaries. In October it will be 10 years since the death of Jimmy Savile, and nine since the world learnt that the DJ, presenter and BBC stalwart was also a paedophile and rapist who used his exalted position to abuse hundreds of young adults and children.
It was only after Savile’s crimes came to light that the media became fully au fait with the term “hiding in plain sight”. In retrospect, it all seemed so obvious, though it wasn’t merely a case of rumours and red flags. Savile’s employers, colleagues, associates and even members of his family knew what he was doing. Yet still he was able to continue.
In the new documentary, Jimmy Savile: The People Who Knew, we learn that his activities were essentially an open secret. Savile raised millions for charity, via marathons, telethons and auctioning off his belongings; his philanthropy, along with his cartoonish eccentricity, proved the ultimate smokescreen for his crimes. With his power and standing, he calculated that his victims would be reluctant to talk – because who would believe he was anything but a saint?
Read the full story from The Independent below: