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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?

FreudiansGoldSlipper Tue 09-Oct-12 23:10:04

What would have happened BBC would close ranks around JS they would not have wanted the embarrassment, JS probably told to stop being a naughty boy and he would have probably thrown a tantrum and whined about all the hard work he did for charity then all would be forgotten

We only have to read the thread on sexual abuse to see how often it was just hushed up you were careful around some men attitudes have changed so much that's why she along with many many others did not say anything is it right no

Completely agree with op and tiglette
If she had suspicions children were being abused she should have acted.

BoffinMum Tue 09-Oct-12 23:11:21

People did used to speak out. Gary Glitter was convicted of sexual offences, for example.

BonzoDooDah Tue 09-Oct-12 23:11:29

How far do you go with a rumour though? You may hear through a 5 person chain that so-and-so is a creepy letch but how would you know it was right and enough to act? Especially if you hadn't heard all the other (now we hear) completely credible accusations. Difficult call in different times.
Easy to say now you'd report it. You would, now ... but then ...

BegoniaBampot Tue 09-Oct-12 23:12:31

I think we should just tar and feather her. We can't get Saville so let's just start a witch hunt and blame everyone else - especially the women as we generally hold them more accountable than men for this kind of thing even though they might have been vulnerable and scared themselves at some point.

spareidentity Tue 09-Oct-12 23:13:08

Exit, I guess that's a kind of reference to how stupid it would be to scapegoat or blame Rantzen for the child abuse, now that we can't get at/try/convict JS. I agree.

But if she knew, I really think it's shocking and CHildLine need to say so - she's champion for the country's biggest child welfare/protection charity - how can she possibly have known about abuse and not spoken out?

FGS, 'the culture' might explain why she didn't speak out in the 70s. But what about the 80s? The 90s? The 2000s? sad

spareidentity Tue 09-Oct-12 23:15:08

I take your point Begonia... But if the founder of Childline doesn't dare speak out about child abuse, what hope is there?

BonzoDooDah Tue 09-Oct-12 23:16:21

Gary Glitter was only convicted and come to wide knowledge in 2006 due to his "activities" in Vietnam. But reading the press it seems he was added to the sex offencers register in 1999 "and jailed for two months after admitting possessing a collection of 4,000 hardcore photographs of children being abused" So who was shouting back in 1999?
(Or did I miss that?) Times have changed a lot even in those years.

ExitPursuedByAaaaaarGhoul Tue 09-Oct-12 23:18:24

Oh I agree, the whole thing is appaling, and how quickly the police and his family have capitulated just goes to prove how it is all true. It's like the Emperor's new clothes - one person speaks out and the others follow.

But it would not have been top of mind for ER, like it would have been for the victims (and JS <boak>) but maybe it was her subconscious awareness that made her start Childline.

Who knows?

Begonia I'd say exactly the same if a man had founded choldline. As op said what message is. It sending to children out there. Certainly not "pick up the. Phone and you'll be believed"

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 09-Oct-12 23:19:05

It occurred to me that she may have been involved in Childline because she wanted to change the culture of silence around child abuse. Maybe this was her way of dealing with people like JS. Because things have changed, partially because of Childline. If she knew there were rumours and couldn't prove anything, not a bad way of trying to do SOMETHING.

BoffinMum Tue 09-Oct-12 23:20:06

There are a lot of ways Esther could have done something behind the scenes, if she really was concerned, if she wanted to.

I think a good question for her is whether she knows of any other celebrities that there are rumours about, either from her TV days or in her capacity as founder of ChildLine, and where her line would be drawn in terms of acting. Because it is not clear at the moment.

And people are only interested in her because she has put herself up as an unofficial spokesperson. If she is going to go on news programmes talking about this as some kind of authority, then people are going to question that authority, surely?

FreudiansGoldSlipper Tue 09-Oct-12 23:20:46

Gary Glitter was charged with having pictures of children being abused on his computer not because someone spoke out against things they had heard. This was in the 90's

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Tue 09-Oct-12 23:22:13

DIdnt ulrika Johnson or someone speak out about John Leslie? He was never jailed snd she was well slated

BonzoDooDah Tue 09-Oct-12 23:28:35

Exactly Wheresmycaffeine - the blokey society made Ulrika the demon not JL. That culture is still there - and not far below the surface.

FreudiansGoldSlipper Tue 09-Oct-12 23:28:41

What could she speak out about things she had heard what go on live tv and announce it. Now to some gossip that I have heard that I believe to be true Saint Jimmy Savile has raped young girls in his dressing room

Why didn't the men who worked with him confront him but no it's a woman that gets the blame

spareidentity Tue 09-Oct-12 23:29:06

Yes maybe MrsTP. But then why isn't she saying that now?

The NSPCC, who run ChildLine, have a slogan on their webpage that says "If it doesn't seem right, talk to us"... They specifically advise people to raise concerns about child abuse, even if they're not sure. But ER didn't. sad

Tigglette Tue 09-Oct-12 23:31:13

He was accused of rape, and she was talking about her own experience, which is very different to talking about something you know about a third party.

Esther Rantzen set her stall out campaigning about sexual abuse and how young people should speak about it. While I can see the argument that says at the time women didn't have power and credibility, she's been in a very different position for many years. She has a vested interest in stopping sexual abuse - possibly because of what she may or may not have known about JS - I feel her credibility is somewhat undermined by her involvement in this situation.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Tue 09-Oct-12 23:32:34

It's already been said he threatened people with pulling funding. Rich people and their lawyers can make anything go away. U would need absolute undeniable proof and even then ur bane would be mud at end of it all sad

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Tue 09-Oct-12 23:32:45


Tigglette Tue 09-Oct-12 23:33:20

Doh crossposted with everyone... in response to wheresmycaffein...

spareidentity Tue 09-Oct-12 23:35:25

Yes there are questions for LOADS of people FGS - most of them probably men, given the BBC hierarchy... But like I said in my original post, 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, and as such, her MAIN role is to advocate, give key messages and speak out against child abuse.

perceptionreality Tue 09-Oct-12 23:35:38

I agree with BoffinMum - she has come forward to talk about this and therefore it's reasonable for people to question why she didn't do more. I just wonder who else is or has covered up for JS or anyone else?

ExitPursuedByAaaaaarGhoul Tue 09-Oct-12 23:38:02

But maybe her starting Childline was her way of trying to do something?

perceptionreality Tue 09-Oct-12 23:38:06

Ulrika refused to confirm or deny who it was who raped her.

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