Coronation Street star Bill Roache – who of course plays the role of Ken Barlow – has spoken openly and frequently about his spiritual beliefs, which some find to be rather off the wall…
However, in an interview with TVNZ this week, Bill has sparked outrage by apparently implying that victims of crime or in fact any form of ‘bad’ event in their lives, may have brought it on themselves as a form of karmic payback for transgressions in a previous life.
And though Bill’s philosophy in that regard isn’t new – Buddhists of course believe that we all pay for the sins we committed in previous lives in our next incarnation – his remarks have come at a time when, in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, the issue of sexual abuse and the victims of it is constantly in the headlines…
And as we reported recently, Bill spoke out about the allegations currently facing his Corrie co-star Michael Le Vell, stating that it’s unfair to assume the guilt of anyone until a court of law has made a judgement.
Speaking to TVNZ’s interviewer Gareth Bray, Bill remarked, “If you accept that you are pure love, and if you know that you are pure love and therefore live that pure love, these things won’t happen to you.”
Bray then said, “To some people that sounds perhaps like you’re saying victims bring things on themselves – is that what you’re saying?”
Bill replied, “Not quite, but then yes I am, because everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives.”
“If somebody has done something wrong then the law will take its course, but even so all of us, whatever whether they’re proven guilty or not – we shouldn’t go around condemning, unforgiving.
“We should always be totally forgiving about everything.”
And specifically on the subject of the issue of peadophilia that’s been raised by the Savile scandal, Bill said, “Paedophilia is absolutely horrendous. Paedophiles should be sought out, rooted out and dealt with.
“But there’s a fringe of people who, particularly pop singers, they have these groupies.
“These girls, who come, they’re sexually active, sexually mature, they don’t ask for their birth certificate, they don’t know what age they may be.
“But they’re certainly not grooming them and exploiting them, but they can be caught in this trap.
“These people are instantly stigmatised, some will be innocent, some will not, but until such time as it’s proven there should be anonymity for both.”
In response to Bill’s remarks, Dr Jon Bird of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, and who is a victim of abuse himself, angrily commented, “This claim is completely disgusting, and on a deeply personal level I am both hurt and offended – as I am sure many other victims will be.
“I have spent years undergoing therapy trying to come to terms with what happened to me, while he has enjoyed the privileged life of a well-paid television actor on Coronation Street.
“Mr Roache has belittled the hurt and pain of others without any understanding of the circumstances himself. He should be ashamed of himself.”
You can click here to see the full interview, but here’s a look at the furore caused by it…
What do you think of Bill’s remarks? Should he perhaps have chosen his words more carefully, or been more circumspect about airing his views?