Twitter has today directed me to a story entitled “Owner of Rolf Harris painting says she feels like burning it” in which… Well, it’s fairly self-explanatory. Rolf Harris – legendary children’s entertainer and acclaimed artist – was today sentenced to six years in prison for abusing little girls. Many are shocked! This guy wasn’t a grotesque and seedy individual like Saville, he was a true gentleman and a family favourite. You never hear hushed whispers from old BBC staffers claiming that they “knew all along about Dirty Old Rolf”.
The latest in a string of old TV stars to face accusations of child molestation, rape, sexual assault or being a dirty old sod, Rolf is apparently unrepentant, “showing no remorse for his crimes”. But, I would like to know, does this disgusting revelation mean he’s not a good artist any longer? Does being a paedophile, murderer, maniac or monster mean that your “other” activities are no longer worth the acclaim they were once given? Put simply, does the fact that Rolf is a pervert mean his paintings should now be burned?
When it was revealed that LostProphets frontman Ian Watkins was a child rapist – another open secret, apparently – Twitter and Facebook hosted a torrent of messages from people boasting that they had burned their LostProphets CDs and slashed their tour t-shirts to ribbons. But why? Especially in the case of Watkins, why would fans of his band’s music take their disappointment and horror out on their work?
Gary Glitter is a dirty bastard, but his music still ranks among some of the most catchy, memorable and – dare I say it? – popular music from that era. Many (MANY) would disagree with that, but there we are. I was a fan of LostProphets and continue to listen to them to this day, despite their frontman being a convicted baby-rapist. The reason is because the songs are quite good (in my opinion, of course).
To take the point further back in time, how many of the great masters had dubious private lives?
I don’t believe that, just because he’s now known to be a pervert, Rolf Harris’ paintings are any the less impressive. Owning one shouldn’t mean shame. It doesn’t mean you support his actions! Many shelves around the country may carry a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf but I think it’s fair to say that only a tiny percentage of those owners support him. Chris Langham was torn to shreds by the media when child pornography was found on his computer, yet his performance in The Thick Of It no less hilarious or talented. He hasn’t be retroactively recast in censored reimaginings of his episodes, identical but for the presence of Nicholas Lyndhurst as Hugh Abbott.
However, it’s always great to throw a bit of EXTRA hysteria about, isn’t it? You know, a few lines of padding for the column inches to stretch out the minimal facts released. Sure, I understand how some may not feel comfortable owning or experiencing the works of those they deem to have let them down, but I don’t accept this as a logical thing at all.
Rolf Harris is a great painter and also a sex offender. Ian Watkins is a disgusting individual and also the ex-frontman of one of my favourite bands. Andy Coulson is a dishonest, despicable cunt… erm… The End.