The perverse cult of celebrity

When I was at school, we had a visiting preacher in Chapel who told us there were three things in his sermon that we would never forget. And I haven’t. They were:

Don’t poison Socrates.

Don’t crucify Christ.

Stand up and be counted.

At times in my life, I have thought of these three mantras, particularly the last one in which I have my own little track record.

I have thought about it while watching and listening to pious celebrities pontificating about the perverted behaviour of that famous celebrity Jimmy Savile

Not only was Jimmy Savile a celebrity, he was a BBC celebrity.

Once, at a Ball at an expensively famous London hotel, the seating plan had me sitting next to a BBC celebrity. I had never seen or heard of her. Apparently she read the news.

When it came to sit down, this famous person I had never heard of moved her place up one so her husband was sitting next to me. Next to her, another famous BBC news reader I had neither seen nor heard of did the same thing which meant they sat next to each other flanked, guarded, by their husbands, one of whom told me they always do this. It protects them from ‘the public’ (like me).

Who on earth do these people think they are?

Apparently a lot of them heard about what Jimmy Savile was up to. Some of them say they knew what he was up to. But none of them did anything about it. ‘It wouldn’t have been worth it’, they say. ‘No one would have done anything.’

Shouldn’t they have reported it anyway?

As it happens, I do not believe they did not report him because they thought no one would do anything. I think they kept quiet because they see themselves as ‘celebrities’. And there is an ‘honour amongst thieves’ rule among celebrities that they don’t tread on each others turf. They don’t have to behave in the same way as lesser mortals like us.

I admit, occasionally, a celebrity will slag off another celebrity. When they do, it makes headlines. When you think about it, it is surprising how little it does happen, given the way they behave.

And who are they, these ‘celebrities’?

Some people segment them into ‘A Listers’ and ‘B Listers’. The A Listers have a rare and wonderful talent like great actors or musicians or writers or record-breaking Olympic athletes (who, ironically, do not feel too superior to engage with the plebs in the crowd).

The B Listers are what you might call ‘media’ celebrities. These people are talentless nonentities who, in my view, have done nothing at all to warrant the ‘celebrity’ title. They either have a famous mummy or daddy or they do something which millions of other people could do too such as appear on reality shows or they read the news (couldn’t a monkey be trained to do this?).

In this context, Jimmy Savile – Sir Jimmy Savile no less – was surely a B Lister. Apparently not. It emerges that people at the BBC and other media channels worshipped the ground he walked on to the extent hat he was above the law.


A bloke who, on TV, looks at an autocue and says ‘Now we have the gorgeous Pan’s People’ followed by some inane donkey-like noise and a cloud of cigar-smoke? The guy who, on radio, puts a record on a turntable and tells you the name of the band? Or who tells his next victim that he will ‘Fix It’ for something to happen while his hand gently, creepily caresses its way up and down the poor child’s back?

This guy – this pervert – was above the law?

Who says he was above the law?

Well these other ‘celebrities’ do. With their ‘celebrity’ attitude and behaviour towards each other, they were part of the cover up. They did not report him.

Why didn’t these B List people ‘stand up and be counted’?

Didn’t they think of the poor under-aged children who were the victims?

Where do these celebrities put their morality, their human conscience, their social responsibility?

It is up their own backsides, that’s where it is. And there is nothing I would like more than for someone to find evidence on these self-serving, gutless ‘celebrities’ and have them locked them up for perverting the course of justice.

That’s what I said:

Perverting the course of justice.

About Hugh Salmon

Business leader. Adman. Writer.
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