Skip to main content

When hero worship turns sour and the bonsai bucket bag

The fallout from the Oxfam sex scandal has taken an unexpected turn, tipping our opinion of a man upheld as something of a national inspiration completely on its head.

We were informed last week that Oxfam aid workers had hired prostitutes, some of them just children, whilst out in Haiti a decade ago. Thus followed revelations that this was just the tip of the iceberg of a far darker side of the charitable sector where sexual exploits and assaults worked as a sordid undertone to the much good these charities perform.

Enter Brendan Cox, husband of murdered MP Jo Cox, who for many has been an emblem of goodness, morality and superhuman strength in the face of unimaginable grief. However, the Oxfam sex scandal has led to the unearthing of previously smothered allegations, that Mr Cox had sexually assaulted several women whilst working for the Save the Children charity, and more recently in 2015, had assaulted a woman in her 30s at Harvard University.

As a result of the allegations he has resigned from the two charities he set up in his wife's memory – More in Common and the Jo Cox Foundation. In a statement he said he denied the 2015 allegation but admitted he made mistakes whilst working for Save the Children.

The news has made many of us feel conflicted. Mr Cox's bravery and dedication to the memory of his wife Jo, after she was stabbed and shot outside her constituency office in 2016, still stands. But the fact he is responsible for destroying the lives of other women he potentially sexually assaulted cannot be cast aside in respect to his female victims.

Kate Maltby, the journalist who was sexually harassed by former Deputy Prime Minister Damian Green, perhaps best sums up this conflict. She says: “If you have compassion for Brendan Cox today, given the horrific circumstances of his wife's death, that is understandable. But I'd ask you also to have compassion for the women who've had to watch him become a national saint, their own experiences with him buried. Hear them.”

The same can be applied to any actor, film producer or photographer who has been accused of sexual harassment or abuse since the #MeToo campaign began on social media. Questions have arisen around whether we can still enjoy that person's work after finding out they have carried out such revolting crimes against women.

Can we still watch their films, admire their photographs, go to one of their plays? Does it in some part take away from what they have achieved? The life's work is still the same - it has not somehow mutated since hearing the news about their personal lives. However, a different filter has been put on the lens through which we are now viewing their creations and as a result, leaves it tainted.

They still are the great artist, actor or film maker they ever were, but it is our ability to enjoy their work which has changed forever.

The jumbled feeling we are left with is a bit like purchasing the Simon Miller Bonsai Bucket Bag. The bag itself draws admiration, it makes a positive statement on your arm because it is unusual in a world of more conventionally shaped bags. But you have to realise that you will never be able to neatly arrange your belongings inside it. Something will always rattle.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Political Vanity and the Topshop Rust Dress

"Mirror mirror on the wall
Who's the best reporter of them all?"

"This Reporter is all right, but the best reporter by far is..."

Smash!

Hello and welcome to This Reporter's weekly news and style round-up and this week there is a distinct whiff of vanity in the air. From portraits and balloons, to TV shows and Google listings, without further ado - let the egos swell. Just beware the rusty nail.

Readers, This Reporter begins with the sensational news there has been a reason to be proud to be British this week, namely the rendition of Aretha Franklin's "Respect" by the Royal Welsh Guards at Buckingham Palace. The brass band version of the classic hit came as a surprise to passers-by at the changing of the guard and marked the day of the legendary soul singer's funeral in the most eccentric of British ways.

Crashing back down to earth with a bump and Parliament is back this week, with all eyes set on ensuring we make the smoothest and most p…

Carrot Fluff and the Leopard Print Evening Gown

PUBS have this week been told to stop serving "carrot fluff" to their customers and instead go back to good old-fashioned pub grub like bangers and mash. The hefty dollop of criticism came from "The Good Pub Guide" which decreed drinkers were being put off by baffling and pretentious menus.

"We don't want our dishes adorned with carrot fluff, edible sand or fish foam, leave that to the swanky restaurants", the Guide scolded. This Reporter reassures readers they won't find any carrot fluff in this week's news and style round-up. And yes she is using the food stuff as a metaphor. As always there will be plenty of those though, and a leopard print evening gown.

We kick off with the news two Russian military intelligence officers were behind the novichok poisonings in Salisbury -  with more than a suggestion the order of command came from top brass himself Vladimir Putin. Though he denies it, of course.

The "Perfume Poisoners" as This Re…

Impeachment, Scallop Wars and the School Blazer

Hello and welcome to This Reporter's weekly news and style round-up. And isn't it curious how the fortunes of Britain and America appear to be in perfect accord, as the two greatest disasters in living memory - the election of Trump and the Brexit referendum - have reached an apocalyptic pinnacle this week. The question is, when will we have the time, or opportunity, to buy our new school blazer?

Because politicians are getting ready for a new school term at the exclusive, fee-paying establishment which is Westminster, and this is to be the equivalent of an exam - rather than a 'doss' - year. As a result they have been inflicted with an element of holiday homework, namely the reading up on the No Deal “information papers”, which the Government ummed and ahhed over releasing. For fear the nation would collectively wet itself.
This would have been quite the handy solution, but as to flooding the place, This Reporter has just one question – whether the Dealers or No Deale…

Brexit Spoiler Alert and the Autumn Brogues

WE'RE going to be getting the political miles in this week so there's no other thing for it. Time to purchase our autumn brogues. Welcome to This Reporter's news and style round-up.

And we begin with the blast from the past which is Gordon Brown. Like Harold from Neighbours, we thought we were shot of him, until he showed up years later with a spot of amnesia. Though Mr Brown's brain cogs appear to be firing on all mathematical cylinders, as he warned us this week we were in danger of "sleepwalking" into another financial crisis - if world leaders did not work together in acting on the lessons of 2008.

The trouble is the former Labour chancellor (and lest we forget - Prime Minister) was unable to say what would trigger it. This Reporter wouldn't like to presume - Gordon's the 'money whizz' - but how about the small matter we have come to call Brexit, as suggested by the Bank of England's Mark Carney this week.

Talking of which, the Governm…

Brexit Titanic, Bond and the Balenciaga Sweater

THE sartorial equivalent of an exploding tin of Alphabetti spaghetti has hit the fashion world this week with the resurgence of the 90s trend for big shouty designer logos emblazoned all over clothes. And This Reporter can see this as no co-incidence of timing, as we witness a political front scant in truth-telling or plain-speaking but instead besmirched by skulduggery, twiddle-twoddle and bare-faced lies. You'll see. Welcome to your news and style round-up.

First up on the news podium is Jeremy Corbyn and listen..."speech, speech, speech, speech". That's the cacophonous call from multiple sides this week for the Labour leader to formally address claims of anti-semitism, both personally, and within his party.

One journalist, Gary Younge, a columnist for The Guardian, has gone so far as to write a speech for him. The gist of it runs that Corbyn must own his past mistakes, but issue the plea he has been more often than not on the right side of history.

Whether Corbyn&…