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NTL’s Frankenstein

I just heard a CBC “As It Happens” interview with a woman who dated Jian briefly. When they were first alone, she says, he pulled her hair back roughly. But when on a later occasion she came back to his place, she says without warning he began to hit her on the head until she cried, in shock and pain, and got out. Tomorrow morning, apparently, there will be another interview, same story.

We in Canada are reeling – not because it’s a salacious sex story, so unusual in this country, but because it’s incomprehensible. We all knew the public face of this personable, clever, successful, multi-talented man. And now we discover he has another side, vicious, violent – Jekyl and Hyde. I just heard Jamie Lee Curtis in a video about bullying say, “Hurt people hurt people.” But everything we know about Jian’s childhood is comfort and happiness – loving middle-class parents, stable, warm – yes, an outsider, a Persian princeling in whitebread Thornhill, as he has so often joked. But what would produce a man so full of anger that he would assault a young woman he hardly knew, risking his entire career? It happened ten years ago, she said. It has taken that long for the stories to come out. If this were happening forty years ago, these stories might never have come to light. My British friend Annie just told me about growing up adoring the comedian Jimmy Savile – her horror and revulsion when it was revealed after his death that he had been abusing children – HUNDREDS of children – for SIX decades. Worse, much much worse than what happened here. Savile was a monster.

I think back on Jian’s book, 1982, which is a light-hearted take on an 80’s adolescence, but has a dark undercurrent about his obsession with a girl who in the end rejected him. Did rage at his outsider status somehow twist his soul? I used to wonder why such an attractive man in his late forties – though looking many years younger – had never had a longterm relationship.

What will happen to him now? 

Well, on a happier note, my head is once again swimming in theatrical bliss – I did go to the National Theatre Live again, to see an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, with Benedict Cumberbatch as Frankenstein and Jonny Miller as the Monster. There is another version with the roles reversed, and I’m considering going again. Once more, a stunning, powerful piece of theatre, as good as it gets. Once more, $22 for a front row seat. Once more, I left knowing that the British are so far ahead of the rest of us in their writers, actors, directors, producers for the theatre. Yes, we in other countries produce a great show every once in a while, but their theatre is consistently, by far, the best in the world. Brilliant in every way. If you possibly can, go.

PS And now the Star has produced more women ready to talk about Jian, more horrible allegations, punching, choking, beating, tales of verbal and physical abuse going back to 2002. How many people knew about this? How is it possible that such vile behaviour could go on for so long?

From Twitter:

I have never seen or heard, anywhere, of a journey from beloved icon to repulsive outcast so swift or so severe.

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4 Responses to “NTL’s Frankenstein”

  1. Carrie says:

    After the Saville scandal here, nothing surprises me about the duplicity of celebrity, the complicity of the establishment, in Saville's case the BBC, and the victims who were disbelieved by both the police and the BBC. How could such a high profile TV presenter, who devoted his life to charitable works, including working for decades in a hospital where it was later revealed he had been abusing patients, be a serial sexual predator? Well he was. Why didn't his victims come forward! They did, but no one believed them, some were too frightened to…who WOULD believe them? Their word against a man who was knighted by the Queen for his services to charity. Shockingly as more and more victims came forward, hundreds of victims, it emerged that there had been 'rumours' for years about Saville….does this sound familiar!? Sadly, no one acted upon those 'rumours' and many young girls paid the price for Saville's predilection. Since The Saville revelations many other women gave come forward to name others, unrelated to Saville, who used their celebrity to abuse them as young girls, some of these men are in their 70s, one in his 80s. Nothing is new.

  2. Carrie says:

    Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal
    Watch this page

    Savile in July 2006, attending the Highland games in Lochaber
    In September and October 2012, almost a year after his death, claims were widely publicised that the radio and television presenter Jimmy Savile had committed sexual abuse, his alleged victims ranging from prepubescent girls and boys to adults. By 11 October 2012 allegations had been made to 13 British police forces,[1] and this led to the setting-up of inquiries into practices at the BBC and within the National Health Service.

    On 19 October the Metropolitan Police Service launched a formal criminal investigation, Operation Yewtree, into historic allegations of child sexual abuse by Savile and other people, some still living, over four decades. It stated that it was pursuing over 400 separate lines of inquiry, based on the claims of 200 witnesses, via 14 police forces across the UK. It described the alleged abuse as being "on an unprecedented scale", and the number of potential victims as "staggering".[2][3] By 19 December, eight people had been questioned as part of the investigation. The Metropolitan Police stated that the total number of alleged victims was 589, of whom 450 alleged abuse by Savile.[4][5]

    The report of the investigations undertaken jointly by the police and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), Giving Victims a Voice, was published on 11 January 2013. It reported allegations covering a period of fifty years, including 214 alleged acts by Savile which, though uncorroborated, have been formally recorded as crimes, some involving children as young as eight. The report states "within the recorded crimes there are 126 indecent acts and 34 rape/penetration offences."[6] Alleged offences took place at 13 hospitals as well as on BBC premises, according to the report.[7][8] In October 2013 it was announced that inquiries had been extended to other hospitals.[9] On 26 June 2014, the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, reported on the findings of the investigations led by Kate Lampard. He said that Savile had sexually assaulted victims aged between five and 75 in NHS hospitals, and apologised to the victims.[10]

    Much of Savile's career involved working with children and young people, including visiting schools and hospital wards. He spent 20 years presenting Top of the Pops before a teenage audience, and an overlapping 20 years presenting Jim'll Fix It, in which he helped the wishes of viewers, mainly children, come true. During his lifetime, two police investigations had looked into reports about Savile, the earliest known being in 1958, but none had led to charges; the reports had each concluded that there was insufficient evidence for any charges to be brought related to sexual offences.[11][12][13] In October 2012 it was announced that the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, would investigate why proceedings against Savile in 2009 were dropped.

  3. beth says:

    A horror story, Carole. We also know about countless Catholic priests – entire organizations, the Christian Brothers here who ran schools and orphanages and abused, sexually, physically and emotionally, the children in their charge. There are depraved, unforgivable monsters in our world.

    I don't think Jian is a monster, but he is, we now know, a very sick man. In one way only, he has done us all a great favour – he has blown the lid from our obsession with celebrity in a most powerful way, and revealed just how craven and wrong we are – and our bosses and public institutions are – in our need to believe in our idols and ignore, as long as possible, their trespasses.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

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Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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