How You Might Be Enabling A Sex Offender
On a slightly serious note (by the Bear’s standards), it’s time for us to discuss the sex offender, particularly older men who groom children.
Two of the writers at the Bear have had a limited involvement in the local independent film scene. As part of our work in this field, we were at one point introduced to a local C-Grade actor who had appeared in several high profile TV and film projects over the years. Our director spoke to him, though we never met him. He took one look at the script, suggested a rewrite and we didn’t proceed with hin. What we did, however, notice was that this middle aged actor sent some very ‘chummy’ messages to one of our young crew members (who was about 21 at the time). Subsequently, we noticed he had posted a number of gushing comments about the talents of several actors who were in their early teens on social media. We made several jokes about what appeared to be a slightly uncomfortable tendency he had to engage with young actors but left it there.
A year later, his face was splashed all over local television and newspapers. He had been charged with a number of sex offences against adolescents. It left the local independent film scene in shock. Many exclaimed that it came as a shock because he was ‘such a nice guy’ who ‘gave a lot of opportunities and support to local film makers’. In our experience, and the experience of others we knew, he actually hadn’t been a nice guy at all and had tried to throw his weight around because of his (limited) profile.
After the charges, he disappeared from social media and we heard nothing about him. A number of angry messages appeared online from some film makers but that was about it. We heard nothing for some time but he later re-emerged, as active as ever at events and on social media. We assumed the charges had been dropped. They hadn’t been and he was in fact hit with more charges. He posted a photo of himself on social media with a supporter, claiming it had been a trying time and thanking people for support. It attracted 60 odd likes and many comments of support, mostly from local film makers.
Of course, he is innocent until proven guilty and people shouldn’t assume that just because he’s been charged he is a sex offender. The fact, however, that so many openly and publicly showed support for him, despite not knowing him well, just because he’d appeared in some local films for free is exactly why the likes of Jimmy Savile and Garry Glitter were able to do what they did for so long. The fact a C-Grade celebrity has done a few turns for aspiring film makers does not mean they can in anyway be forgiven for offending against kids, particularly where many of the kids he is alleged to have assaulted were aspiring actors attending auditions. If he is guilty and this is his modus operandi, then it’s disgusting and must be condemned.
No one should tear him down for it unless he is found guilty (and for this reason we haven’t named him, though there is considerable press about it), but by fawning him with praise for his ‘stoic’ approach to his struggles with the law is blatantly enabling him. It is this adoration for celebrities like Savile and Glitter and turning a blind eye because of their status that allowed them to offend. The fact a near non-celebrity like the one I’ve described gets blatant messages of support from film hacks who want to get famous is equally sickening.
There have been many celebrities recently caught up in allegations of sex offending. They deserve a presumption of innocence. Many have been convicted, some will never even be charged. If we continue to view them through rose coloured glasses one thing is certain though – it won’t stop.