The BBC – employers and defenders of child rapist Jimmy Savile – has encouraged the removal of statues in Britain recently. However, when urged to remove from its headquarters a figure of a naked boy, created by a sculptor who sexually abused two of his daughters, the organisation refused.
The carvings of a man standing behind a naked child were the creation of Eric Gill.
His diaries, published in 1989, revealed he had sex with two of his daughters and the family dog.
His 1932 statue ‘Prospero & Ariel, from Shakespeare’s play ‘The Tempest’, is placed above the entrance to the BBC’s Broadcasting House in London. Apparently it stands “as a metaphor for broadcasting.”
“It’s an insult to allow a work like this to remain in such a public place. It is almost mocking survivors, it is intolerable.”says Fay Maxted, chief executive of The Survivors’ Trust, a body which represents organisations supporting survivors of rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse.
“There’s a strong argument that this (the statue) should be removed. These symbols are in people’s faces.” -says Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association For People Abused In Childhood.
“The statue was especially inappropriate in light of the recent Jimmy Savile scandal”, he added.
“People who aren’t affected by these issues can get uppity and say ‘you can’t do that’. But if you’ve been abused as a child then this is very insensitive and inappropriate.”
A BBC spokesperson said: “The statue of Ariel and Prospero on the front of Broadcasting House stands as a metaphor for broadcasting, executed by one of the last century’s major British artists whose work has been widely displayed in leading UK museums and galleries.
“There are no plans to remove or replace the sculptures at the front of Broadcasting House.”