Guest post by Ben Fellows – Former Child Actor
It seems nowadays that everyone in the public eye is attempting to suppress the press and media. It seems that the rich and powerful are quick to take drastic legal actions when stories in the press don’t suit their public image. From sports personalities, celebrities and actors to politician’s indiscretions.
From ‘super-dupa’ court injunctions which prevent you from even thinking about telling someone’s story. To famous and influential people and their representatives making dodgy deals with the media, arranging not to run certain stories about their indiscretions in return for juicer ones about someone else. Jimmy Savile apparently called newspapers up directly and told them that he wouldn’t raise money for a particular charity if they ran allegations of paedophilia about him.
So I published a story with a headline that ran ‘I RAN THE GAUNTLET OF PEDOPHILES IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY’, SAYS FORMER CHILD ACTOR’. In the article I mention that during my time working on the ‘Cash For Questions’ story for The Cook Report, Ken Clarke groped my penis with his hand whilst in a political lobbyist’s office. Now, he thought I was fifteen years old at the time. It was an unpleasant incident for me which lasted no more than a few seconds. After the incident I told a number of The Cook Report staff about the groping and we left it at that, as they would have to discuss whether or not they could even include the footage in the programme.
So when the publisher of 21st Century Wire received an email from the Cabinet Office yesterday evening – let’s say that I for one wasn’t surprised. The email protested Kenneth Clarke’s innocence so vehemently that it was even denying things that Ken Clarke had never been accused of – at least not by me.
Kathryn Laing, Special Advisor to Kenneth Clarke in the Cabinet Office said :
Please Could you remove the comments about Ken Clarke from the following posts on your website : HYPERLINK http://21stcenturywire.com/ and HYPERLINK http://21stcenturywire.com/2012/10/11/i-ran-the-gauntlet-of-pedophiles-in-the-entertainment-industry-says-former-child-actor/
Kathryn goes onto say …
The comments are a complete fabrication and highly defamatory. Mr Clarke has never been involved in any incidents of this kind. He was not involved in Cash for Questions – at the time he was a Minister and therefore could not ask questions. He is firmly heterosexual. Like most parliamentarians he vaguely knew Ian Greer but had no dealings with him. The most charitable interpretation is that it is a case of mistaken identity
She finishes off with a standard legal threat against the 21st Century Wire :
If the comments are not removed Mr Clarke will need to consider legal action
For the record – my allegation is that Ken Clarke touched my penis over my trousers when he had been told I was fifteen years old. I was actually nearer eighteen but was playing the part of a fifteen year old for The Cook Report. Incidentally Kathryn on Ken’s behalf states that Kenneth wasn’t involved in “Cash for Questions”. Well I never said he was or that he had ‘dealings’ with Ian Greer.
I have no idea why he was in Greer’s office. I was just a kid delivering a “dirty deal” message to Ian Greer for the TV programme. That’s it. The point is that Ken Clarke was in Ian Greer’s office and that’s when I met him. I’ve also never questioned his sexuality or his friendship with Ian Greer or lack thereof. Of course Ken is clearly getting a little desperate and his advisors don’t seem to be able to come up with an adequate plan to deal with the situation. So they are trying to say that I couldn’t recognise him or that it wasn’t him – a case of mistaken identity? Please, I know what Ken Clarke looks like and Ian Greer even introduced him as Ken Clarke.
This series of articles began as a story about child abuse and paedophilia in the wider entrainment industry and not just the BBC. However, having been interviewed by The Times journalist Jack Malvern, a senior features writer, only to have the story dropped by the Murdoch’s because I’d named someone who is fronting their Christmas schedule this year. Just to remind you that the Newsnight programme was pulled for exactly the same reasons by the BBC.
Now, we’re moving into the centre of government, exposing a cabinet minister for groping what he thought was a fifteen year old boy’s genitals. To discovering that politicians think that if they write a letter asking for the news to be changed that editors and publishers will actually do it. This of course proves without a shadow of a doubt that we no longer have a free press. If indeed that’s what editors and publishers do on receiving one of these emails from the Cabinet Office.
Ministers affecting or even attempting to affect the news is a very dangerous place to be. When you allow anyone to suppress, edit or spike a news story you turn from being a democracy into a dictatorship. It really is that simple. The question is where does it end? One day it might be suppressing an incident of groping a teenager … tomorrow it could be suppressing the reason why we are going to a war.
The press’ job in a democracy is to question and bring to task people who are attempting to pervert our society.
I think John F Kennedy said it best when he said :
No official of my administration, whether his rank his high or low, civilian or military should interpret my words here tonight as a reason to censor the news to stifle dissent to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and public the facts they deserve to know
Is Ken Clarke really threatening our democracy by sending this email asking for a publisher to censor himself? Probably not. But we are certainly going down a very slippery slope.