Charity fundraiser Sir Jimmy Savile, who died last year and was given a lavish funeral, was also a paedophile who used his celebrity status as the BBC’s top presenter to prey on young girls for sex, some pre-teen.
This was the thrust of an ITV Exposure documentary this month, The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile, that featured a number of women who claimed that they had been abused by Savile, some in his BBC dressing room, when they were very young. Since the programme was aired a plaque to Savile in Scarborough, where his mother lived, was defaced and subsequently taken down, and there have been calls in the press for him to be stripped of his knighthood.
For charities some serious reflection may need to be given to the claim – made in The Sun so it must be true – that Savile “played the charity card when he felt cornered, telling those who wanted to blow the whistle on him that they would be responsible for closing down Stoke Mandeville Hospital, for which he was the major fundraiser”. There has also been the suggestion, published in Savile’s autobiography that some organisers of charity events helped him procure his victims.
If the accusations are true Savile isn’t the first criminal to use charitable acts as personal PR to clean up his image for ultimate commercial gain, and he certainly won’t be the last. And even for the possibly non-criminal but disreputable person or organisation, charity will be high on their PR company’s list of effective sales, or self, promotional tools Question is, how far do charities, once they realise they are being used in this way, want to go along with it?
Meanwhile the BBC still has a large photo of Savile greeting visitors as they enter the audience entrance at their White City centre……….