Tuesday, October 30, 2012

BBC host Jimmy Savile child sex abuse scandal rocks the UK

The child sex abuse scandal engulfing Britain’s public broadcaster, the BBC, has been producing disturbing headlines in the UK for almost a month. Since the scandal broke, 300 victims have told police that they were abused by BBC TV host Jimmy Savile, suggesting this number may yet rise.

Savile hosted TV shows, worked for charities and was even awarded a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II. More than just a TV personality, he was a national institution. He was perhaps Britain’s answer to Dick Clark, hosting the UK’s equivalent of “American Bandstand,” the very British sounding “Top of the Pops.”

It is difficult to exaggerate how fundamental the BBC is to British culture. It has the highest-rated radio stations. It runs one of the biggest TV channels. Its Web pages are the most-read. Its news is the most trusted. The BBC even has its own "sound" – a kind of posh, but not too posh, monotone adopted by all newsreaders. British children grow up with it.
Now, it is accused of turning its back while children were allegedly abused on its premises by a BBC star and others. One BBC show, “Jim’ll Fix It,” even invited children to write in and ask to be on TV. The access to legal minors has prompted comparisons to Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. It’s a scandal that is raising questions about the cult of celebrity and about how large prestigious institutions can offer pedophiles a place to hide.

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