to think this video may show that Esther Rantzen KNEW Jimmy Saville was abusing children...

(169 Posts)
spareidentity Tue 09-Oct-12 22:22:38

... And to think that if she did, ChildLine need to say publicly how awful that is...

Esther Rantzen was interviewed on Sky a couple of days ago, about the documentary which alleged Saville was a predatory abuser. I've just come across a video of the interview (click here) , and I'm really shocked by how she appears to duck the question "When did YOU know?"

It does seem that a lot of people knew about Saville, or had their suspicions, years ago sad But I can't help feeling that Rantzen's role at Childline puts her in an entirely different position to anyone else who may have known... She's a 'champion' for the organisation... But if it transpires that she kept silent about abuse, I think that's really appalling, and ChildLine need to make some kind of statement... Because if even the founder of ChildLine keeps silent about abuse, for any reason at all, then doesn't that give a terrible message to all those children and adults trying to find the courage to speak out about what has happened to them, that everyone is keeping silent, and they are right to feel afraid and alone? sad

I find this very upsetting, and if turns out Rantzen did know, I think that is really shocking and outrageous... But AIBU? Do other people draw different conclusions from the video? And if not, could there be a good reason for her not to speak out?

BonzoDooDah Wed 10-Oct-12 00:15:28

(going to bed in a foul mood now - goodnight all)

spareidentity Wed 10-Oct-12 00:17:42

I need to go to bed soon, but thanks everyone for your thoughts.I'll come back to this tomorrow eve.

Has anyone actually watched the video of the news interview yet? I'd be interested to hear people's reactions to it...

FreudiansGoldSlipper Wed 10-Oct-12 00:17:59

Me too and equally in bad mood sad

BonzoDooDah Wed 10-Oct-12 00:19:56

(I really am going) I did watch it - and I thought she didn't know enough to report and I'd be more interested to hear what that dick of a producer had to say for himself and how he justified absolutely definitively knowing that Saville had a 12 year old girl in his bed - and did nothing. Nothing about it.
She could have been any one of us or our daughters ....

spareidentity Wed 10-Oct-12 00:22:18

Bonzo - "He KNEW without doubt and did nothing. She heard a rumour and set up a charity to support vunerable kids. Why are you still ranting about ER and not that bloody bloke??"
^^ That's a fair question. I think it's because she has a voice, power and influence - and a particualr public role where she is supposed to stand up against child abuse... Whereas he's a little bloke I'd never heard of before tonight.

FreudiansGoldSlipper Wed 10-Oct-12 00:22:28

Quickly yes i did. Not a great response from her when questioned why she said nothing when she headed Childline, i get what she is saying. She said they all colluded so many of them and this enabled him to get away

Proudnscary Wed 10-Oct-12 00:24:29

No excuse. None.

spareidentity Wed 10-Oct-12 00:26:22

I didn't mean have you watched the documentary - I had the same reaction to you when I saw that.... I meant the Sky interview with Ranzten. - That's when I thought "Bloody hell, she knew", and felt so shocked.

(Don't go to bed in bad moods, Bonzo and FGS, please . I appreciate your views and I am listening).

GranToAirMissiles Wed 10-Oct-12 00:30:44

BonzoDooDah, I found him creepy precisely because you could see he did not respect boundaries - invading people's space both physically and verbally.

BegoniaBampot Wed 10-Oct-12 00:34:00

So she's human and not perfect and not Saint Esther. Are the ones being so critical of her so sure they would have done so different to her back then, are you so sure if you were in her position you would have spoke up on a rumour and took all the fall out and flack that went with it?

FreudiansGoldSlipper Wed 10-Oct-12 00:35:58

All I can say is read the other thread on our experiences of abuse and how often it was just swept under the carpet, how being touched inappropriately was just part of life

No one is saying it is right its just recognising that because of attitudes with his power JS managed get away with it. I am glad there will be an investigation would never have come out while he was alive it's sickening

hellsbells76 Wed 10-Oct-12 00:37:00

You may not have heard of him but he had quite a lot of power at the beeb. In fact on the same night as the Savile doc was shown, there was a bbc4 drama in which a fictionalised version of him was seen giving Kenny Everett his first break. He was certainly more influential at the time than ER was (who was a long way off founding ChildLine) and he knew. And not only did he do nothing at the time, he was seen smirking and minimising it even now. She at least appears to be deeply sorry, thoughtful and guilty for her part in the collusion, even though there is no suggestion she had first hand knowledge or anything that might have been taken seriously.

Rosebud05 Wed 10-Oct-12 07:15:56

Those who think Rantzen should have 'spoken up' - what exactly did you want her to say to who?

<just watched the video>

I'm not sure that repeating 'office gossip' to her male managers would have been productive and I wouldn't imagine for a moment that even the police would have taken allegations about Saint Jimmy seriously in the 1970s.

The onus of responsibility is different on those who witnessed some abuse or who the victim of abuse informed.

However, ultimately of course Savile is the one responsible for the abuse and the whole myth of 'saint J' that he cunningly constructed around himself, and he is a much more appropriate focus of outrage.

JakeBullet Wed 10-Oct-12 07:22:16

I am there with you Rosebud, when you are a relatively junior member of staff it is very hard to speak up about what might be seen as "Office gossip" and lets not forget that ER is now being interviewed at a time when all that office gossip has proved to be correct. If I was in her shoes I would feel as guilty as hell, even though at the time it happened I might have been powerless to stop it or to raise concerns by asking "actually is this true"?
She heard gossip, she didn't know if it was true and JS was a powerful and saint like figure to many many people in power. In her position at the time I might have dismissed it as just gossip and nothing more.

Rosebud05 Wed 10-Oct-12 07:26:20

Thinking about it, even if the police did take it seriously, JS was so well connected that he would have found some way of silencing any allegations.

limitedperiodonly Wed 10-Oct-12 08:51:18

It is up to the police to launch an investigation if they have grounds to believe an offence had been committed.

They can't act on isolated rumours but there were so many that this warranted a closer look. I believe one police force did ask questions before dropping it. Why aren't we asking them why before picking on Esther Rantzen? And then we could ask other police forces who must have heard these rumours why they didn't bother either.

It might turn our that Savile was part of a shadowy conspiracy of High Court judges and members of Royalty but the most likely reason is that like other abusers, he chose his victims carefully to ensure they wouldn't be believed or sympathised with.

Most people, men and women, thought the victims were grasping little slags who got what they deserved. Some of them still do. As they do in other cases of mass abuse.

limitedperiodonly Wed 10-Oct-12 08:53:19

actually scrub 'mass abuse' for 'abuse'. Most abusers pick victims who won't be believed or whom no one likes much. They are not stupid.

limitedperiodonly Wed 10-Oct-12 08:59:12

Also the newspapers who all knew this stuff was true took one look at Savile and another at his victims and asked: 'Who will our readers believe and will they continue to be our readers if we go after one of their favourite showbiz personalities on behalf of soppy little slags*?'

* Not my description, in case anyone thinks it is. But one that is widely used by all sorts of people to describe vulnerable girls.

invicta Wed 10-Oct-12 09:08:10

If the abuse is true (which it is increasingly looking like), then ER can't be held responsible. Alot of people would have covered up for JS, and probably would have been involved also. In the 70s/early 80s, it was very difficult to be a successful female reporter - it was a very male dominated world - so females such as ER and Anne Robinson would have had little support.

Last year, there was a documentary on Lewis Hamilton and all his affairs, visits to strip clubs etc. It tarnished his perfect image. If such a cover up can occur today, can you imagine what happened 20-30 years ago.

Also, what would you do in this situation? Its easy to have suspicions, but harder to act on them. Also, maybe people thought it was malicious gossip, rather then true. Also, its easier to be wise after the event,

shewhowines Wed 10-Oct-12 09:18:35

How do we know that she didn't have conversations with the police and bbc bosses? She may have asked them to investigate but then it would have been out of her hands.

If she didn't actually raise questions at the time, then yes she should be feeling very guilty. Whilst she has undoubtably done a lot of good with childline, there does seem to be hypocrisy in this situation. No one is perfect though. She may well have feared the fall out and may have had to evaluate her chances of actually being successful in making him accountable.

streakybacon Wed 10-Oct-12 09:19:13

Do we know for certain that ER didn't say anything at the time? Perhaps several people did and found that the Beeb heirarchy closed ranks. We just don't know what people might have tried to do in the 70s to stop what was happening.

streakybacon Wed 10-Oct-12 09:19:56

X posts with she.

YouOldSlag Wed 10-Oct-12 09:23:42

You can't take a rumour to the police. JS was notoriously litigious, unless you had concrete proof, you might not have got anywhere.

piratecat Wed 10-Oct-12 09:28:58

she's a bloody disgrace. he was not her responsibility but she had a responsibility to all that she has stood for with Childline. She must at some point have had conversation with Jimmy Saville within her career as patron of that charity, about her charity work and his charity work.

piratecat Wed 10-Oct-12 09:30:12

why can't you take a rumour to the police though? What does it matter if there is no evidence at that point.

You bring it to someones attention. surely. grrrr

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