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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?

BoffinMum Tue 09-Oct-12 23:39:21

I'm not being critical because she is a woman, I am being critical because she is the founder of ChildLine and has decided to come forward as a spokesperson about this.

spareidentity Tue 09-Oct-12 23:39:43

That's why I think an investigation is needed, perception. Usually I don't support investigations - they're so often a waste of time and money - but there must have been lots of people at the BBC who knew or had heard the rumours, and I bet some of that culture still remains, and they need to challenge it.

perceptionreality Tue 09-Oct-12 23:39:46

But actually, that was another case where it appeared her experience was the tip of an iceburg as women came forward to talk of a tv presenter who was a sexual predator.

perceptionreality Tue 09-Oct-12 23:43:34

Well my mum knew someone who worked at the BBC who knew what he was doing and this person was not high profile at all. There is surely no doubt that ER knew what was going on. Whether she had proof who can say - but there must have been something she could do.

And I totally agree that this has nothing to do with her being a woman.

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 09-Oct-12 23:47:01

Can I just reiterate that we ALL have a duty to report. All of us. It doesn't matter if you are not high profile, or aren't, or founded Childline or not. That needs to be the message. How many threads are on this site, "AIBU to call Social Services about..." Always call if in doubt. Let the professionals investigate. Stop blaming ER and start blaming a) the men who rape children and b) the culture of distrusting SS and not calling them.

FreudiansGoldSlipper Tue 09-Oct-12 23:47:17

She was not in the 70's. Childline started in the 80's it takes calls from over 2000 children every day

He had every paper gagged, he got out of being prosecuted in 2007 men talk of fearing him he was a powerful manipulative man

spareidentity Tue 09-Oct-12 23:49:12

JeezyOrangePips, you asked ages ago "What would you have her do?" That's a really good question. I Have been thinking about what I would have had her do, which is speak up at the time she first heard the rumours, or not much later. But I am less clear about what I want her to do now. I want to think more about that. But if she was able to be open now and say "I didn't speak out and I should have done, because we can only stop child abuse if we stop it from being a secret", maybe this would raise awareness and do enormous good.

But as I say, I do find this upsetting and depressing, because if even the founder of Childline keeps quiet about child abuse, how can we ever hope to stop it? sad

perceptionreality Tue 09-Oct-12 23:52:51

When I watched the programme last week there was a man who said he had a junior position at the BBC and he was afraid of him and afraid to report.

This kind of thing happens in all walks of life - a friend of mine who is a doctor told me that junior doctors are afraid to report senior ones.

However, this is indeed no excuse. And anyone who didn't speak out colluded.

FreudiansGoldSlipper Tue 09-Oct-12 23:58:51

ER has said a few times it was known, an open secret, those that knew those that turned a blind eye those that help support this notion of him being a saint colluded she is including herself

It is quite obvious she is struggling with this. The focus should be those that abused and those still alive that will hopefully be prosecuted

hellsbells76 Wed 10-Oct-12 00:00:41

There was a former (male) producer at the bbc on that programme admitting that he had first hand knowledge that Savile was raping a 12 year old (he even spoke to her on the phone while she was in bed with him - it was 'demeaning' to him apparently hmm ) but no one's baying for his blood or demanding to know why he said nothing. The knives are out for Esther Rantzen instead. Misogyny runs deep doesn't it?

spareidentity Wed 10-Oct-12 00:01:23

FGS, Rantzen was around in the 70s. That's Life! started in 1973, and Rantzen was presenter all the way through to the 90s. It ran back-to-back with Jim'll Fix It on Saturdays for many years, as I remember, and there was a bit of a ratings war - both shows had audiences around 18 million.

Claireabella1 Wed 10-Oct-12 00:01:49

The man can't defend himself, can he? We don't know and will probably never know any of this is true.

Proudnscary Wed 10-Oct-12 00:05:04

Really? I choose to BELIEVE the victims personally, Claire.

I used to work at ChildLine many, many moons ago. And I am sickened that she knew.

No excuse. No 'those were different times'. Yes they were. But wasn't that the whole point of starting up ChildLine back then?

BonzoDooDah Wed 10-Oct-12 00:06:42

what hellsbells said - who's baying for that producer's blood???


He heard and knew and did nothing.

That poor, poor child sad

HardHittingLeafletCampaign Wed 10-Oct-12 00:08:55

I think Esther Rantzen has done more for thousands of children through Childline than can be matched by many others. I phoned them as a child and felt I had nowhere else to turn.

hellsbells76 Wed 10-Oct-12 00:10:29

...and I thought it was bloody disgusting that the interviewer didnf challenge him on that either. He asked far more searching questions to ER at the end of the programme yet here was someone who had direct knowledge, was in a position of authority over Savile at the time, and did fuck all.

spareidentity Wed 10-Oct-12 00:10:29

NO hellsbells, that is not what this is. This is about the founder and spokesperson a the country's leading child protection charity, and whether or not she knew about child abuse and did not speak out. It is her role and not her gender that gives her, in my eyes at least, some responsibility.

The former male producer you mention was Wilfred De'Ath. I found his reaction/testimony pretty shocking, as you did. But he didn't go on to found Childline, and that is what I find so upsetting and shocking about Rantzen.

FreudiansGoldSlipper Wed 10-Oct-12 00:10:46

She was not running Childline in the 70's it started in the 80's

I still unsure what you expected her to do a piece on That's Life confront him herself

Strange how Paul Gambaccni was praised for speaking out admitting he knew this

perceptionreality Wed 10-Oct-12 00:12:18

Nonsense Claireabella - these women all have practically identical stories - why do you choose to disbelieve them? Imagine if this was your dd - hopefully you would believe her?

Furthermore there are LOADS of people who worked at the bbc now admitting they knew what he was doing.

Can't defend himself? The primary issue is he was never made accountable for his actions. This man was a SEX OFFENDER. And I personally find it ironic that the same people who shout hang the paedophiles also feel more sorry for his family than his victims!

BonzoDooDah Wed 10-Oct-12 00:12:32

like you say hellsbells bloody mysogenistic bloody society. Blame the women - they're supposed to be the ones that care ...

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 10-Oct-12 00:12:43

So, they both knew (him possibly more definitely than her) and one of them did nothing. The other founded Childline and we think SHE is the worse one...

Proudnscary Wed 10-Oct-12 00:12:50

I didn't praise Paul Gamaccini

I condemn anyone who knew

But especially Esther Rantzen because she founded ChildLine. Not because she's a woman [hmm}

Proudnscary Wed 10-Oct-12 00:13:14

That'd be hmm

BonzoDooDah Wed 10-Oct-12 00:14:24

No spareidentity he did exactly NOTHING!!! Nothing. 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??

spareidentity Wed 10-Oct-12 00:14:26

^^ What Proudnscary said.

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