Back in 1993 I interviewed Rolf Harris at the Glastonbury festival.
He had just performed a storming set on the Pyramid stage and signed autographs for fans at the side gate.
I felt lucky to have the opportunity to interview one of my childhood heroes.
Rolf answered my questions, telling me how much he enjoyed the experience.
Afterwards I told friends how weird it felt to have him staring at my chest the entire time.
It was a hot summer day and I wore a vest with a crochet top over it.
“Nice shirt,” he said at the end of the interview.
He’d obviously enjoyed looking at my 22-year-old boobs.
I felt disappointed but thought he’s a man, that’s how some men are.
Since his conviction other journalists have told how he touched them inappropriately.
Now I feel fortunate for nothing more than a look and sleazy comment.
Picture above from Glastonbury 2010 by DG Jones licensed by Creative Commons on Flickr.
I admire Oxford Mail editor Simon O’Neill’s stand against Google removing a story about a theft.
By writing about the move he keeps the story alive.
It is a prime example of the Streisand effect. You want it to go away but the noise gets louder.
During my eight years as a web editor with the Worthing Herald series and The Argus I lost count of the number of times people asked me to remove stories about convictions.
Invariably news stories came up on search engines causing problems for the individual.
Usually the person had kept quiet about the conviction and ended up losing a job, occasionally it caused problems with their family and friends.
This was always the newspapers’ fault for publishing, not theirs for committing a crime.
When the European Court of Justice ruled Google (PDF) should remove articles from search engines at user request I wondered what publishers would do to counteract it.
The message to people who want to hide their misdeeds is to be honest with the people you know.
Admit to your crime, however minor, and get on with what life throws at you.
Better still, keep within the law.