Rolf Harris, lauded UK entertainer, convicted of indecent assault


Heh . . . I was watching “Derek” the other night. A couple of characters are watching a TV channel that runs old game shows; comfort food watching for the old folks.

Close paraphrase of a comment: “That whole top row there? All kiddy-diddlers.”

How do you expect them to react? Someone they’ve liked and respected for years turns out to be awful. You’ve emphasised “not really” as if that has some meaning, to me it just looks like a figure of speech in context.

This isn’t some kind of a PR machine or political spin doctor where you have to read between the lines - these are human beings in shock and denial that someone they respected didn’t deserve their respect.

Like them, I don’t want it to be true. I accept that it is, but I hate that it means someone I’ve watched on TV my entire life, and seen in Panto, wasn’t actually the friendly nice character he portrayed.

I’m sure you’re trying to make a point with your post, but I’m not sure what it is.


… and Jonathan King, and Stuart Hall…

I’m not surprised that Corbett et al are providing slightly odd interviews - these are weird convictions for events from many years ago, and people they have known and worked with for decades. I wouldn’t expect any ‘lock the sick bastard up’ quotes unless they ask Jerry Sadowicz.

What’s really disgusting is that this went on for so long as an open secret. It’s almost as if sexual abuse of the children they were ‘entertaining’ was treated as some kind of creepy droit du seigneur.

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I expect people challenged on whether they knew to begin with something other than “not really.”

Putting the issue of victim-blaming aside, when is it “odd” when they “come out of the woodwork”? When it’s been an open secret for decades, that’s when.

You could also ask how the hell ‘larger than life’ MP Cyril Smith never ended up in prison. There’s a real culture of ignoring some disgusting crimes.

Rob, I’m not sure how familiar you are with British English, this could be one of the ways it differes from American English? (1) “Not really” feels to my ears, in context, like something that comes out automatically while they’re trying to work out what to say next.

I suspect that these 3 weren’t expecting to be asked to talk about the case, but might have been at a function somewhere and asked/ambushed on the way out - certainly they all appear to be interviewed in the same place.

(1) There are definitely lots of others, e.g. I know of several visiting Americans who’ve been confused by the way sometimes we use “sorry” to mean the exact opposite.


I grew up with Saville and Harris on the telly all the time. I liked their programmes as a kid but I always found them a bit creepy. It’s still hard to process. My brain is busy converting all their peculiar mannerisms into grotesque caricatures.

I think Rob IS British!

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Fair enough, I couldn’t find any references either way.

As a born and bred Englishman, I can confirm that “Not really” is a nonlexical filler word in Britain in exactly the same way that the word “cunt” is not a gendered slur there.


I’m confused by the quotes you have pulled here. Ronnie Corbett is clearly being presented with the verdict for the very first time and has not had a chance to process the information, Cilla Black is doing her best not to be brought into the conversation and the interviewer is the one who mentions a witchhunt, and it sounds from his first comment, that Goldsmith is hearing about the verdict for the first time too and he goes on to say that in his opinion, he feels that there was nothing out of the ordinary about Harris’ behaviour.

The history of the Yewtree cases is, from what I understand as an average punter with no horse in the race, quite typical. One person makes a complaint and the publicity of that makes other victims realise that they might actually have the option to speak up as well and the whole thing snowballs. The biggest problem in my eyes is that there seems to have been a culture at the BBC and apparently other organisations to either dismiss as nonsense, or (more sinisterly) to actively cover up allegations against their high profile talent.


While a crime such as this is abhorrent and it’s good news that these people are being brought to justice, it’s a bit disapointing that, like most American media, Australia only gets mentioned when it’s either whacky or sordid. Yet I’ve been dismayed to see no link to any stories concerning vice President Al Gore sharing a stage in Australia with an elected coal mining billionaire, as said billionaire announced he would give his deciding vote to the conservative government in it’s push to remove a tax on polluters, which acts as a means of mitigating co2 emissions.

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Can you see what it is yet?

A witch-hunt, say some, even now, like those kids just aren’t there.

I imagine it’s pretty uncomfortable for many entertainers of the time, even if they were completely unconnected to the men in question. If you are even accused of having any connection to paedophilia nowadays, your reputation is completely destroyed. I do know people who have been falsely accused, one of whom had to leave the country because his family had been broken apart and he was getting threats against his life. There’s a mob mentality that takes over in these cases that isn’t there as much in other crimes such as murder. It’s not unreasonable for someone like Chris Tarrant to be concerned that innocent people may be caught up in this, even though the CPS may have had very good reasons to arrest certain people without being able to charge them.

I agree that’s a rather loaded misinterpretation of “not really”, which here sounds more like “in my vague recollections, no” but doesn’t rule anything out, is all. By most accounts, seems Harris was relatively private in his abuse though.

But as a media-led witch hunt, well it’s not much of a hunt. The details are salacious and judgements on both victims and abuser are made; this isn’t really about rooting out and bringing to justice historic abusers; rather, it runs a ready-made “fall from grace” story without much actual journalism taking place. It also deflects attention from the current political names tied up in abuse allegations while complainants are paid off.

(And judging by this morning’s stories, Tory party coffers are going to get raided again very soon).

If you are talking about the report given to Leon Brittan, I wouldn’t be surprised if Maggie put it into the memory hole to protect her loyalists.

Brittain’s name came up (and went away again) earlier this year in a different context.

Seems to be in Cyril Smith’s case that a lot of political pressure was put on the press to stay quiet. In today’s Guardian there is news that Leon Brittan, the Home Secretary of the time was given information about a paedophile network at Westminster.

Sadly I don’t think we’ve learned everything yet.

What those poor victims went through was appalling, the cover-up is disgusting and we need to know if these powerful individuals were being protected. And millions of people looked up to these predators - jesus, Harris even fronted a campaign against child abuse for years and years and years.

If we’re really digging in to the meaning of “Not Really” here, then I would interpret it to mean that he felt the same way I felt when a person I knew and used to work with got sent up for something very similar: There were some behaviours that at the time I thought were a bit strange, but didn’t really dig too much in to at the time, since everyone is a little bit weird in their own way. In retrospect, it all looks perfectly clear about what was going on, blanks get filled in, dots are connected and all that, but at the time, really, there was nothing to it.

For the first little while after I found out, I felt guilty; I thought that I really should’ve inquired more and done something, been better at figuring out something was happening, or said something to someone, or done something. But back then, it really didn’t cross my mind that something of the sort could’ve been going on. Should I be evaluating everyone I meet as a potential abuser?

Bah, now I’m thinking about it, and it’s making me angry/sad.

Anyway, if you’d asked me, soon after the news came out, if I had had any ideas that it was going on, I might have said “Not Really”, because there was (still is) a part of me that thought at the time that yes, I should have, and that I should have done something about it and helped kids to not go through whatever it was that was done.

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