It seems that nowadays, sexual harassment charges follow you almost to the grave. Rolf Harris, the retired Australian and British media personality and man who’ll be ninety years old in a couple of years, still fends them off in court.
The most recent charges against him, dating from the 1970’s and 80’s, fizzled as a jury debated for several hours and threw in the towel without a conclusion. But over the years well over a dozen women have openly accused him of being a dirty old man, and he had already served jail time on some counts. How likely is it they all made it up? Women still run a miserable gauntlet when they have to testify on these unseemly matters, which begs the question: how many accusers imply an undeniable, critical mass?
Yet Rolf enjoys the support of his wife and daughter, which leads to another question: why do family so often conclude that the world is stacked high with liars, who have no visible motivation to lie? Or do they feel that a sexual predator who’s sullied the lives of numerous women deserves lots of sympathy, nonetheless?
His bizarre and destructive behavior stands in contrast to an amazing career, so much more than merely writing “Tie me kangaroo, down, sport,” perhaps his greatest hit. It’s as if one of the best popular musician/songwriters, one of the best popular sketch artists, and a leading actor and producer were all rolled into one, a quite stunning career, really. And choc full of honorary awards, many of which have been rescinded since his exposure as the original dirty old talented man.
U.S. Americans may not be aware of his amazing resumé but Aussies and Brits certainly are. With his wealth and fame, surely he might have found some sort of discreet ‘escort service’ if his urges needed constant, extra attention. All of which leads squarely into the maw of the mystery of the self-destructive psyche. It would have been so easy, it seems from outside Rolf’s skin, to have preserved a striking celebrity’s legacy. Just a bit of self-restraint, for God’s sake, around fourteen-year old girls!
We wonder if the self-destructive personality comes in several distinctive flavors–the alcoholic, for example, who’s now seen to have a disease related to a chemical. So is the sex offender an alcoholic of the libido, merely needing to be jailed to stop hurting other psyches as he struggles with his own? Or is it a simple failing of moral behavior, and of the self-restraint that all adults learn to practice?
The story of Rolf Harris makes for a tragic biographical mystery, but an important one.