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Child Sexual Exploitation; Turner Prize Winner on Art, Identity; Imagine a World
Aired November 19, 2014 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: from the pinnacle of popular culture to the halls of British power, allegations of
shocking sex crimes.
What is it about power and tribal identity that makes abuse seem right? I speak to renowned human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson.
Also ahead: the cross-dressing artist Grayson Perry doesn't much care what you think of him. And I'll ask him about identity. It's his latest
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAYSON PERRY, ARTIST: . over adrenalized young men, over adrenalized young men seem to cause most problems. I've been one myself. I know. I'm
talking from experience, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.
The story that's been rocking the entertainment world and American pop culture, allegations of decades of sexual abuse by beloved comedian Bill
Cosby has shone yet another harsh light onto what is shockingly an everyday occurrence in practically every walk of life, in nearly every country,
including this one, Great Britain.
Look at this headline in a prominent broadsheet today; a retired magistrate tells "The Daily Telegraph" that his son, who went missing more
than 30 years ago, may have been killed by a member of a high-profile pedophile prostitution ring and that police have launched an investigation
Indeed, a tsunami of horrifying revelations of sex abuse against children has been pounding Britain for months, allegations of grooming
young girls in Rotherham, Northern England; historical allegations of raping young boys by Westminster political elite and convictions after
charges of abusing young boys and girls by prominent and trusted television presenters and entertainers.
Yes, authorities are now sitting up and taking notice, promising commissions, investigations and accountability. But, no, they're not doing
enough. A report out today in the U.K. criticizes many local authorities for failing to properly tackle child sexual exploitation and that is what
we're going to talk about now with renowned human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson.
Thank you for joining us.
It is really a catalog of horrifying reality. We'd like to think our culture is changing and that we can believe these promises of zero
Right here in Great Britain, it's not, is it?
GEOFFREY ROBERTSON, HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER: Certainly not. Although the revelations started with the Catholic Church in Ireland and then -- because
that was massive -
AMANPOUR: And you wrote a big book on that.
ROBERTSON: -- the Vatican turned a blind eye. But then we discovered it in celebrities here and a number of them have been convicted and now
we're finding other examples.
And what comes across to me, having studied it, is the utter vulnerability of 7-, 8-, 9-year olds to power, to a sense in the Catholic
Church, the priests with -- as the representative of God, their any command is unflinchingly obeyed. The star, entering the star's dressing room at
the BBC, it's an enormous power.
And it does bring home firstly how we must ensure that someone guards the guardians, because the guardians can't be trusted. They may not be
pedophiles. They may just be men taking advantage of children who will do whatever they want and then we have also come to realize, I think -- and
this, Christiane, is the awful thing -- that sex abuse as a child stays with you and destroys lives later on.
And in Europe, you haven't mentioned Europe, but child abuse, I'm afraid, is not only rife there in churches and institutions, but it
actually protected by ludicrous law that enable -- that stops investigations after 10 years.
So there is --
AMANPOUR: It's almost like a conspiracy untold and unofficial, conspiracy against people coming forward.
ROBERTSON: Well, there's the royal commission in Australia, for example, that has uncovered enormous depths of institutional abuse in the
Catholic Church, of course, but also in educational institutions and what have you. And it is a matter of real concern now that we know the
consequences are not fleeting. They're not something that is part of youth but they continue for all these victims' lives.
AMANPOUR: And now Pope Francis obviously wants to address this and insists that he will.
ROBERTSON: He hasn't yet.
AMANPOUR: Says he will; we'll see, and we have to hold him accountable.
The British establishment, this business about what happened in Rotherham, these girls being groomed, but also at the heart of Worcester,
unable yet to even put up an investigating commission to head --
ROBERTSON: -- aspects of that. We're looking now at how the police and social workers went wrong. Social workers tended -- because the
assailants were mainly Asian, they thought it was politically incorrect to add to the already discrimination that Asians suffer by identifying them.
And that's a problem. Police incompetence, sheer incompetent, not believing the victims, 10 policemen are now under investigation for that
incompetence. But my gosh, the story with which you headed, the idea --
AMANPOUR: What do you make of that? It's a magistrate who's come out --
ROBERTSON: I know. Well --
AMANPOUR: -- accused --
ROBERTSON: -- it is hearsay evidence and we can't actually jump to conclusions.
But the -- what the British establishment is facing, unprecedentedly, is a demand from victims and from the public not to do its usual trick of
putting the establishment in charge of investigating the establishment.
And it's taken the home secretary weeks and still she hasn't come up with a satisfactory independent figure, a kind of patriotic esthetic (ph),
if you like, to actually head this inquiry, because the previous suggestions had to stand down because they were related or knew some of the
establishment people, 20-30 years ago, who may have covered up.
AMANPOUR: Now just as we were coming on air, Bill Cosby's lawyer has denied and sent out a statement denying the latest allegation, the latest
allegation they're calling lies.
But let's move on, because this has just brought this spotlight on this very, very massive, massive cancer in our midst.
ROBERTSON: And the ability of stars, or people claiming to be the representatives of God or people who've simply bedazzled kids and they feel
they can never complain against them. It's so easy and that's why there must be checks on dressing rooms. There must be checks on all sorts of
places, where people with power over children can be -- which bewilder them and then go on and have sex with them.
AMANPOUR: I would like to play you a portion of an interview I did with Andrew Norfolk (ph), who was "The Times" reporter who broke the
Rotherham story and had been actually working on it for years before it actually -- you know, somebody decided to do something about it.
Let's just play what he told me a couple of months ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW NORFOLK, "THE LONDON TIMES": . not just in Rotherham, but across the whole of the country for two decades, concern growing about what
was happening to girls.
For two decades, people whose job it was to protect children were instead regarding those children as worthy of nothing but contempt, as
somehow to blame for what was happening to them. And the men who were committing quite horrific crimes were getting away with it because nobody
wanted to prosecute them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Isn't that the big problem, that people simply refuse to listen to the victim, particularly when the victim is underage?
ROBERTSON: That is certainly the problem that -- with the police. They have regarded girls of 13 --
AMANPOUR: It's not just the police, it's teachers, it's hospitals --
ROBERTSON: -- social workers --
AMANPOUR: -- social --
ROBERTSON: -- it was the problem of political correctness. It was the problem of blaming the victims, of not liking the girls because they
were drinking and having sex. It's that kind of male attitudes that need - - one thing that needs to change.
That's not the problem with the alleged abuse by VIPs. That's a different matter. We have had, I'm afraid, cases where a deputy director
of MI-6, Peter Hayman (ph), his crimes were covered up and he wasn't mentioned in court cases. That was a clear cover-up.
AMANPOUR: So what specifically --
ROBERTSON: -- Cyril Smith, the MP and so --
AMANPOUR: -- what specifically needs to be done? The catalog is shocking. You know, they're promising all these commissions; they haven't
got off the ground.
What specifically can we do to protect our most vulnerable?
ROBERTSON: I would think the Australian experience of a royal commission, which has got total powers to reveal what's gone wrong and to
make recommendations, that's a very good start. Here we haven't really started. We're having difficulty actually appointing a sufficiently
But what must be done is, first of all, to punish and to reveal. I mean, all these rumors, some of them I'm sure are conspiracy theories. But
there is enough reality that we know about that does require an investigation.
So the first thing is to get an independent investigation off the ground.
The second thing is to abolish in countries in Europe all these Napoleonic time limits, which allows offenders to get away --
AMANPOUR: Statute --
ROBERTSON: -- the statutes of limitation. That's urgently needed in France and Germany and then we have to actually put in place workable
protection. And that means that we have to be aware, not only of the consequences for kids who are being molested, but also of the propensity
for men who are not necessarily pedophiles.
What comes out is that it's very often men who are simply unable to control their sexual urges or have difficulty in other respects. They're
not (INAUDIBLE) take advantage of children.
AMANPOUR: It's really shocking. Thank you very much for joining us, Geoffrey Robertson.
ROBERTSON: Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Now sometimes flagrant disregard for the basic norms of human behavior does get swiftly punished. That's what's happened to the
so-called pickup artist, Julien Blanc. He's an American who chooses to tour the world teaching impressionable young men how to get a date by
playing the aggressive male chauvinist pig.
Well, he's not coming to Britain, thanks to a petition by more than 100,000 people. He's been denied entry.
Previously, he's been thrown out of Australia and banned from Brazil and maybe soon banned from Japan, where he preached to his legion of
followers that, quote, "If you're a white male, you can do what you want."
So when we come back, we deconstruct that tribe with the award-winning artist most famous for his female alter ego. Grayson Perry takes on tribal
identity -- next.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
Grayson Perry is the maverick British artist known perhaps for his cross-dressing and his shocking ceramic vases depicting subjects like death
and child abuse that won him the 2003 Turner Prize. Now firmly part of the art establishment, whether he likes it or not, Perry is turning his
attention to the issue of identity in a new exhibition called, "Who Are You?" at the National Portrait Gallery here in London.
From tapestries to sculptors (sic) and pots, he's created portraits of diverse individuals all trying to define who they are. And of course, the
issue of identity crops up a lot in discussions about politics, immigration and terrorism, the very issues that we often tackle here on this program.
So I sat down with Grayson Perry this week and got the refreshing perspective of an artist.
AMANPOUR: Grayson Perry, welcome to the program.
GRAYSON PERRY, ARTIST: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Good to see you.
You are right now, if I might say, obsessed by identity.
What is it that triggered that?
PERRY: Well, it's such a sort of fuzzy term. I mean, I'm always interested in the things that are right in front of us all the time in
mundane and everyday life but we don't think about.
So I've done a series about taste and class and now I'm concentrating on identity because it's something that crops up, particularly in political
discussions quite a lot.
But I'm never quite sure what people mean by it. So I --
AMANPOUR: What did you discover?
PERRY: Well, it's all several things, really. I mean, I think the main thing is that it's a performance over time rather than this fixed
thing. And so all of our identities are like a kind of cast we hold back and we bring forward the cohorts as we need at any one time.
And we're not the same person from moment to moment quite often.
AMANPOUR: And yet, that seems to be exactly what's happening right now, certainly in British politics, on the continent, in France, elsewhere,
the idea of identity, what makes us British. You see the far right group UKIP making inroads into the political spectrum here.
Your -- one of your drawings or one of your investigations was about a convert here, right?
AMANPOUR: To -- she's wearing a hijab.
PERRY: Yes, that was Kayleigh (ph) and that, I think we researched who would be the most likely candidate for converting to Islam in Britain.
And it turned out to be a 26-year-old white Christian woman. And that was -- well, what would be in it for that woman?
And I think Kayleigh (ph) put it very well. It was about an escape from the pressures of modern consumerism and the sexualization of women in
And by going into Islam, she's got this very supportive, very female supportive cast in the mosque.
AMANPOUR: And yet, I wonder if you found it kind of -- sort of she only got half the story because we're speaking in the aftermath of yet
another brutal killing by ISIS. And they are also all about identity, look at me. We are the great Islamic --
PERRY: I think there's a lot of macho identity involving -- I think when I look at the problems of the world, often my first thought is, oh,
men again. You know, men, violent young men often, who have -- they live in a world where there's no outlet for that kind of old warrior mentality.
And in Britain they take it out in the traffic. But if you give them a gun and they're in some of this less -- the poorer parts of the world,
then they cause havoc.
AMANPOUR: Peter Kassig, who was just killed, the latest, he wrote a letter to his parents, saying, going into Syria to do humanitarian work,
this could be a game-changer for me. It's about my identity. It's about changing who I am.
PERRY: Yes. I think we all have somewhere in our minds, we probably have at least one kind of role model floating around and maybe he had some
sort of heroic, do-gooder type of hero in his mind, I don't know.
One of the things I've found around identity was people want certainty. I mean, that's the attraction of religion, of course. I mean,
that's why all these ISIS guys -- you know, whatever you think of what they're up to, they're certain. And that's always a terribly dangerous
AMANPOUR: You are proudly and openly a transvestite. That's what you call yourself. You dress up. You have an alter ego, Claire (ph).
What are we meant to understand from that and why?
What -- ?
PERRY: Do you have to understand something?
I mean, that's quite interesting. I do it for myself and what you think is up to you. If you think I'm a pervert or just a charming
But me, no, I'm a transvestite. I enjoy dressing up and I'm an artist as well and I've found it a kind of useful part of my identity to use it --
but I was accused when I won the Turner Prizes of dressing up just for the publicity. But I've been doing it since I was 12. By then I was 43.
So -- but it is useful. Yes, it gives me a brand, in the crowded cultural landscape of the contemporary art world, it's good to have a
AMANPOUR: And currently you have, as I said, "Who Are You," this exhibit.
One of the big centerpieces is called "The Comfort Blanket."
What is this about?
Some people said it as a bit like mongrel Britain.
PERRY: I wanted to make a piece about British identity. And this friend of mine, who had escaped the Hungarian invasion by Russia in the
'50s and her mother would always call Britain her security blanket.
And I loved this idea that Britain was this big, enveloping kind of quilt that you could wrap yourself up in as an identity and also as a safe
haven. And so I wanted to make this great big blanket that you could wrap up the new British citizenship in, and with all the things that we love and
love to hate about Britain.
AMANPOUR: One of the other big things you have just done is a big article for "The New Statesman," called "Default Man." It's basically
about middle class, white men.
PERRY: Well, they're everywhere, aren't they?
PERRY: But they actually only make up a relatively small proportion of the population. I mean, if you throw in middle age as well.
AMANPOUR: Middle age, I forgot.
PERRY: You know, that's probably about 10 percent of the population and yet they dominate the media and the politics and business as well. And
these people are disproportionately representing our society.
And I wanted to look at them like an ethnic minority almost and kind of really pinprick (sic) what it is about these strange people, because
they act as if they're normal. That's always a dangerous word, normal, because they like to think they're individuals. They got there on their
own merit. But of course they got there because of their tribal identity.
And so I wanted to sort of pull that apart and look at the kind of things that they take for granted.
AMANPOUR: Do you think people would be surprised, just by the way you appear, to know that you're married to a psychotherapist?
PERRY: People -- you know, they see me as a transvestite and a -- most transvestites, there's the same number of gay transvestites as there
are gay men, the same proportion. The rest of them are heterosexual and probably married. And so it's not a surprise to me, a transvestite who's
married. Most of them are and have children and deal with it.
AMANPOUR: What inspired you to your art, to who you are?
What about your childhood? What about -- what happened?
PERRY: Well, my childhood, I would say, was acultural. No books, no paintings, little music, yes. So I don't come from a background that's
very cultural at all. I just enjoyed making art.
And I think that's actually been an advantage, not having that kind of expectations about what an artist is.
AMANPOUR: So what is next for Grayson Perry?
PERRY: Well, I've been working with an architect designing a house. So that's a kind of a shrine to an imaginary woman. I've always been
interested in religious architecture.
And so I wanted this house, which will be a holiday let, to be in the form of something that looks very close to a chapel.
And then I thought, well, every chapel needs a deity or saint or something like that. And so I wrote a long epic poem about a very ordinary
woman's life and what happened to her and then this whole chapel was dedicated to this woman called Julie. So it's Julie's House.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's great. Women around the world are going to thank you.
PERRY: Yes, oh, I hope so. And --
AMANPOUR: Because there is a, as you know, a -- pretty much a global war on women, no matter where you look.
PERRY: Yes, I mean, I find it shocking.
I mean, it's -- I think it's -- it's the one issue, I think, that a lot of the other issues would fall into place if they dealt with it.
But it's like we go back again, most of the problems in the world are created by men and so that's the problem we should really be focusing on.
If you think about the global economic crisis, over-adrenalized young men, over-adrenalized young men seem to cause most problems. I've been one
myself. I know. I'm talking from experience, yes. And I know that a lot of my problems came from being an over-adrenalized young man --
AMANPOUR: You won't get any argument from me on that.
AMANPOUR: Well, always challenging, always fascinating, great stuff. Thank you very much indeed.
PERRY: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And what greater sense of identity is there than home?
So what happens when you're forced to abandon yours and flee for your life?
Coming up, the story of a Syrian refugee boy, trying to survive in an alien world.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world where your only hope of survival is in a foreign land. That, of course, is the plight and
sometimes the fortune of the refugee. Turkey's foreign minister says that his country may have to take in another 3 million Syrian refugees in the
months ahead if President Assad's army or ISIS fighters advance around Aleppo.
For over three years, the country has been struggling to cope with the influx, many of whom end up on the streets of Istanbul, which is where CNN
camera man and producer, Joe Durand (ph), catches up with some of them one recent chilly night.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Living under a bridge in Istanbul far from home in Kobani, which they left two months ago, this woman and her children
have traveled from war-torn Syria, looking for a safer and better life.
Life away from home may be safer, but it's not much better. It's hard. Some here find odd jobs, others have resorted to begging as their
only means of survival. That, though, is illegal.
Etha (ph) and his family fled Aleppo more than a year ago after his father was killed. They now live in a park.
ETHA (PH) (from captions): There, there is shooting, they are shooting with guns. ISIS is there.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): He's 6 years old, just a child, but he's the family breadwinner now, making about $10 a day while fighting off a
constant stream of abuse, like this woman with refugee fatigue, shooing him off or the police, about to take away his very livelihood.
ETHA (PH) (from captions): Police took it.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): One flute is taken and Etha (ph) has little choice but to spend half the money he's earned this day on a new one.
AMANPOUR: Brave little boy.
And that's it for our program tonight. Remember you can always see the show at amanpour.com, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you
for watching and goodbye from London.