CELEBRITY WITCH-HUNT?Operation Yewtree was set up to investigate allegations arising from the Jimmy Savile scandal. Sexual predators were now themselves being pursued. And though the two had met, the investigation into Harris was not connected to the late DJ. The massive publicity around the Savile scandal caused more and more victims to come forward. Among them, were the victims of Harris.The first to come forward was the one he abused the longest – his daughter’s friend. She was spurred on by the appearance of Harris in June 2012 at the Queens Golden Jubilee. She was furious that Harris, now in his eighties, was still revelling in the spotlight, when he had destroyed her life while she was just a teenager.Detectives took her testimony and then gathered more and more evidence. In November 2012, just after receiving his Bafta fellowship - the crowning moment of his career - the police, after searching his home, questioned Harris.In March 2013, they charged him.But with Harris so beloved by so many, some asked whether those coming forward to name and shame Harris were simply joining the celebrity witch-hunt that seemed to attack every entertainer from the seventies.And this trial by media did have an effect. Channel 5 removed two programmes featuring him from it’s schedules.Rolf Harris was slowly but surely being exorcised from the world of entertainment.
In March 2015, Harris was arrested.
“We can’t be in a world in which somehow, if it happened, 20, 30 years ago...they can get away with it. That impact, that pain, didn’t just happen in 1968 or 1969 – in Rolf Harris case – it’s happening now for the victims. That’s why they went to court...to look him in the eyes again...because he wouldn’t admit his guilt. That’s why they did it: Because they are still feeling the pain today; and they wanted justice.” - Peter Watt, National Services Director, NSPCC
In May 2015, a police report revealed that they were looking at 1,400 men – of them 261 were high profile individuals such as celebrities and politicians.