via 21st Century Wire:
By Ben Fellows
21st Century Wire
Jimmy Saville may be the villain of the moment concerning revelations about child sexual abuse at the BBC, but the truth is there are pedophiles everywhere in the entertainment industry. Many of them are in positions of power and influence within their respective organisations, including adult stars, directors, producers and executives.
The following accounts are just some of my own personal experiences – and brushes with pedophilia out in the entertainment and big media spheres, as a child star who attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School in London…
At the age of ten years old I was asked by my drama teacher to go and audition at the Royal Shakespeare Company. They were looking for a mixed race boy to play alongside Hugh Quarshi who was playing Banquo, in Adrian Nobles’ production of MacBeth starring Jonathan Price and Sinead Cusack. Having gone to the audition, taken by my parents, I was lucky enough to get the part of Fleance. However, after the high of getting offered a part in the production, my chaperones – who looked after me like secret service agents (I’m not kidding) – told me that there were certain actors that I was not allowed to be alone with. As a child at the RSC, I was just having a blast and didn’t realise that sexual predators were a part of my production, however, there were certain actors who were famous and who I was warned about.
I was told in no uncertain terms never to go into certain actor’s dressing rooms. On one occasion I actually did go into an actor’s dressing room who closed the door behind me. I was offered alcohol… and before I knew it, the dressing room door burst open and my chaperone invited me to go back to my own dressing room. Of course nothing happened to me whilst at the RSC. My point is that the RSC were quite aware of pedophiles in their midst. It was an open secret that children were vulnerable, even this highly rated, professional environment.
TV’s ‘Casting Couch’
However, once I’d entered the entertainment industry proper, I was not so lucky and ran a gauntlet of pedophiles – both at the BBC and at other television production companies, and also in theatres, as well as on commercial photo shoots. In fact, almost every production I was involved with, I was targeted in some way or another. Looking back, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the problem is both institutional and systemic in the entertainment industry.
The casting couch may seem like a funny, perhaps even mythical old Hollywood style, approach to casting. As pre-teen and as a young teenager, I attended many auditions as a child where I was asked to take my top off and pose for photographs, and I was propositioned by male and female casting directors all the time.
After one audition for a Coca-Cola commercial, the Police came to my parent’s home. They advised my mother that I had inadvertently become a potential target of a known pedophile ring. It turned out that the ‘well-known’ casting director had taken pictures of me topless, and those pictures then appeared in what was described as a catalogue and was passed to other pedophiles within the company – and to external pedophiles. These were professionals within ‘the industry’, operating under the cover of an entire production company working with blue chip clients.
On another, more frightening occasion, I was chased around the dressing room by a naked actor who had invited me into their dressing room at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane – and this actor was extremely famous. I was advised by the director of the musical that I was not to complain, or tell anyone of this incident. I was thirteen years old… so I didn’t.