Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris and now Bill Cosby — but their predatory behaviour had accomplices

Many apparently wholesome and high profile figures in the entertainment industry are now being revealed as ravenous, sexual predators.

But this post is not about the predators themselves. They were bad enough. I suppose their behaviour is a case of being caught up in the maelstrom in the “behavioural field of fame and riches ” which makes it impossible for any kind of “behavioural moral compass” to operate. The latest revelations about Bill Cosby’s behaviour for over 30 years follows that revealed about Jimmy Saville’s predatory behaviour and that of the archetypal “good guy” Rolf Harris (who is now serving a prison sentence). There are a number of other cases, of rich and famous individuals in the entertainment industry, who preyed upon the “pretty young things” aspiring to make a break-through or who were just overwhelmed by the glitter and glamour, which are now going through “due process”.

I suppose all the rich and famous are subject to false claims of exploitation. But the police and media and lawyers who received claims against high profile figures seem to have dismissed them all as being false. But these predators who were all rich and famous did not prey and feed in isolation. They were always surrounded by their fawning entourages who could not have been unaware. Some actively helped their principals to feed. How come they were all silent? And their silence makes them all complicit. Some just waited for the principal to feed and then stuffed themselves with their leavings.  Or – as in the case of Jimmy Saville – the police and press were intimidated by his “high-level” contacts within their own organisations. What happened to all their moral compasses? One law for the rich?

The morality of our behaviour – it seems – depends upon the field in which we operate. Could it be that when we enter their “behavioural field of fame and riches” our moral compasses also go haywire?

As one of Cosby’s victims writes in the Washington Post:

The entertainment world is rife with famous men who use their power to victimize and then silence young women who look up to them. Even when their victims speak out, the industry and the public turn blind eyes; these men’s celebrity, careers, and public adulation continue to thrive. Even now, Cosby has a new comedy special coming out on Netflix and NBC is set to give him a new sitcom.

Fixing this problem demands more than public shaming. For Cosby to commit these assaults against multiple victims over several years, there had to be a network of willfully blind wallflowers at best, or people willing to aid him in committing these sexual crimes at worst. As I told the Daily Mail, when I was a teenager, his assistants transported me to hotels and events to meet him. When I blacked out at Cosby’s home, there were several staffers with us. My agent, who introduced me to Cosby, had me take a pregnancy test when I returned from my last trip with him. Talent agents, hotel staff, personal assistants and others who knowingly made arrangements for Cosby’s criminal acts or overlooked them should be held equally accountable.


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