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Aled Jones is off the BBC while a complaint is investigated

November 19, 2017 by norman lebrecht

20 comments.


The presenter has withdrawn from appearances on the BBC following  report in the Sun newspaper that an allegation had been made of ‘inappropriate messages and contact with a female member of staff’.

The former boy star, 46, has apologised ‘for any upset caused.’ He denies any wrongdoing and continues to broadcast for Classic FM.

 


Comments (20)

  1. Stephen says:

    One gets fed up with this fashion for accusing anyone and everyone of sexual harassment. Just as one gets fed up with the scenes of copulation used as fillers in nearly every TV or cinema film. Just as one gets fed up with articles on improving one’s sex life, including in the “top” dailies. They are only a reflection of “what the people want” and they can’t have it both ways.

    1. FeminismIsntFashion says:

      Stephen, the only ‘fashion’ here is that women are finally putting their collective foot down and saying ENOUGH of this crap, we aren’t putting up with it anymore. Whether this allegation is proven remains to be seen but if you think what is happening right now around sexual harassment is merely ‘fashion’ or ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ then you are very much part of the problem.

      1. Maria says:

        Pity more women didn’t put their “collective foot down and saying ENOUGH of this crap” after Rotherham, Keighley etc.

        Ann Cryer spoke up but the support she received at the time didn’t compare with the outrage we are seeing now. Considering its scale, Rotherham still appears to attract little comment. Why is that, do you suppose?

        Big stink of hypocrisy.

    2. Alex Davies says:

      First, it’s not a fashion. It’s happening now because people—women, men, girls, boys—feel, seemingly for the first time in history, able to speak out about something which until now has been considered unspeakable. It’s not because of fashion that the pages of this very blog have been reporting for years now cases of sexual abuse at schools, music schools, and conservatoires, in church choirs, and by private teachers. It’s because finally the victims are beginning to feel that they should not feel ashamed of what has been done to them and that they may even be believed, and so there are now people coming forward to tell stories that they have been waiting to tell for a whole lifetime.

      Secondly, there is no connection at all between sexual harassment and sex on film and TV and sex stories in newspapers. If anything, the opposite is true. For too long, sex was something that was considered shameful and had to be hidden out of view. It wasn’t something that could be talked about. Least of all was it something that people—women in particular, of course—were supposed to enjoy. Indeed, until recently, genitals, especially those of women, were known by the euphemism ‘pudenda’, literally, ‘things of which to be ashamed’. It is only within living memory that adolescent boys were taught the story of Onan and the divine wrath that would be visited upon masturbators. So it is in fact very much because of this new openness and loss of shame that people are finally saying that they have had enough of sexual abuse and harassment.

      1. Sue says:

        I’m in this incredible woman’s corner; she’s a brave person!! The stutter is annoying, yes, but give her a go. She says things which nobody else is saying and, consequently, they’ll throw their hands up in horror. Why is it that people only want to hear what they know?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwXudI2iojs

        1. Don Niperi Septo says:

          I never liked AJ when he was a choir boy etc and he is still acting the maggot on TV as we say in Ireland.

          1. Nick says:

            I am with Don Niperi. I have always found something incredibly forced about AJ’s presentation and totally fail to understand how he seems to be so popular. I recall when he took over from Simon Callow as narrator of a series of TV programmes about the lives of composers. I cringed and finally gave up watching. I hope the allegations are not true but given the times we live in I hope, too, that the woman is given every opportunity to provide details without harassment from male chauvinists.

        2. Alex Davies says:

          Interesting, but where does she address sexual harassment?

  2. Malcolm James says:

    In no way do I condone inappropriate behaviour, but what we seem to have here is an allegation dating back over 10 years which is unproven and, almost certainly, unproveable. Furthermore, if the allegation had been pursued through the proper channels at the time and had been substantiated, it would appear to have merited a rap over the knuckles, after which the case would have been closed unless he re-offended.

    As it is, we have another case of a public figure being tarred and feathered without any evidence being produced and this is unacceptable. If there is hard evidence of Aled Jones’s behaviour it should be investigated quietly and the allegation should only be made public if and when it is upheld by an internal enquiry. If it cannot be proven the allegation it should simply add to the feeling that in future women should be able to come forward at the time the alleged behaviour occurs and that the complaint will be treated seriously, but that the person against whom the complaint is made is also entitled to the safeguards of due process.

  3. Mark Mortimer says:

    ‘Sexual harrassment’- the phrase has come to cover a whole manner of sins. In its worst manifestations- sure- very serious- wrecks lifes for the victims & well deserved justice for the perpetrators. But what a wimpish & pathetic society we’ve become when every unstable woman contacts the police when some run of the mill bloke sends them a slightly lurid text message, calls them ‘darling’ or pats them on the backside. Utterly ridiculous & from what I’ve read- the allegations against Aled Jones amount to little more.

    1. Alex Davies says:

      You seem to be confused about what is and isn’t permitted in our society. One text message or one comment isn’t harassment. Harassment as defined in English law requires a course of conduct, i.e. two or more unwanted communications. One lurid text message, as you put it, and you’re on your first and only warning from the recipient of that message; a second message and she’s well within her rights to contact the police. It’s not a crime to call somebody “darling”. If you call somebody “darling” and she tells you in no uncertain terms never to call her “darling” again and you persist in doing it, you are in the wrong. Touching somebody’s buttocks, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter. It’s now a crime called sexual assault, and before that it was a crime called indecent assault. This is nothing new. Most cases of non-recent sexual abuse have been prosecuted under the Sexual Offences Act 1956, hence these things were criminal offences 61 years ago when that law was enacted. Some people have been prosecuted under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.

      On the other hand, a lurid text message (whatever exactly that means) or calling somebody “darling” could well be a disciplinary offence in the workplace. It’s not only women complaining about this. When I was much younger than I am now I worked with a considerably older woman who was in the habit of making highly inappropriate sexual comments in the office. She wasn’t even directing them at anyone in particular, but it was totally unprofessional and made people feel very uncomfortable.

      Your language is interesting. Is there any other crime which we are supposed to overlook because the offence wasn’t serious enough? Are people whose houses are burgled wimpish and pathetic? Do they only report the crime to the police because they are unstable? Is it still a burglary is the burglar only makes off with an old microwave that cost £20 at Argos but leaves your £1,000 TV?

      The fact is, there is no excuse for people behaving badly and we shouldn’t be blaming and shaming the victims and minimising the seriousness of the crime.

      1. Malcolm James says:

        Agreed, but neither should we be blaming and shaming the alleged perpetrators without evidence.

        1. Alex Davies says:

          Indeed. I was actually about to reply to your earlier comment on this thread, which I think hits the nail on the head. The crucial thing is the process, and the process is what has been lacking, in a way which is detrimental both for complainants and for alleged perpetrators. Formerly, complainants were let down by the lack of process, as it meant that they rarely had the opportunity to prove their claims and to receive some kind of justice. Now, it seems that the alleged perpetrators are let down by a similar lack of process, and allegations are accepted as fact with little or no investigation or examination of evidence.

          The ongoing case of Bishop George Bell seems to be an excellent case study in this tendency. The Diocese of Chichester appears to have accepted as true an allegation that Bishop Bell sexually abused a young girl with little investigation and little or no examination of what evidence was provided. Witnesses (both contemporary witnesses to the alleged events and expert witnesses) were not interviewed and contemporaneous written sources were not studied. The result is that nobody really knows who or what to believe. On the one hand, we have the alleged victim, known as Carol, who apparently sincerely believes that she was sexually abused by Bell, and on the other hand we have the reputation of a great man, perhaps unjustly ruined. One of the more charitable interpretations seems to be that Carol may have been abused by somebody other than Bell and that the accusation arises from mistaken identity. As it is, both Carol’s integrity and Bell’s posthumous reputation exist under a cloud of suspicion, which can be satisfactory for neither.

          1. Malcolm James says:

            I hardly need add the recent case of Carl Sargeant. These sorts of allegations can sometimes have dreadful consequences, even though the only person ultimately responsible for a suicide is the person themself.

  4. Hillary says:

    Liberal TRASH!

  5. Sue says:

    Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence? The media is one giant kangaroo court these days and that’s EXTREMELY worrying.

  6. Malcolm James says:

    The problem is the BBC and other organisations have been cowed into accepting all allegations as true, even without evidence, otherwise they are themselves criticised for being misogynist. It is not unlike the situation in universities in the US, where kangaroo courts exclude male students on sexual assault or rape charges on the flimsiest of evidence.

    1. Alex Davies says:

      Not only in the US. I know of a case in the UK where a male student was to all intents and purposes expelled from university following an allegation of a sexual assault upon another male student despite compelling evidence that the allegation was untrue.

  7. Nik says:

    A letter to today’s Times:

    “Sir, The BBC has clearly lost its moral compass. Contrast two reports in yesterday’s edition of The Times: Aled Jones will not be appearing on the BBC while it investigates a single allegation by a woman about a text he sent ten years ago. Jones denies the text amounted to harassment and the public is no wiser. By contrast, Reggie Yates, a DJ, utters a blatant antisemitic attack on “random fat Jewish guy from northwest London” in the music industry and is allowed to remain a BBC broadcaster by issuing a worthless “apology” that his comment “could have been interpreted” as offensive.

    It is time for the BBC to explain its criteria for unacceptable behaviour and its own prejudices.”

  8. Andrew says:

    It is all very sad because mud sticks No one of us is perfect and I refuse to believe that Aled indulged in anything more than a “bit of banter” which he should be made to regret but which should not damage him longterm

    ..The Duke of Wellington’s response, “publish and be damned!” is needed from Aled, so we can see exactly what was said and collectively call him a “silly boy” but not in the same category as caveman-alpha male Weinstein!


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