Today, Coronation Street actor, Michael Le Vell was cleared of sexual assault and raping a minor. Although, today may seem like a victory for the actor; the power of a simple accusation will plague his career for years to come.
The official approach of all courtroom proceedings in the UK and indeed, most other places is ‘innocent until proven guilty‘. But, if we were to gage the general public’s response to Le Vell during his trial last week, a more accurate description would be ‘guilty until proven innocent and probably still guilty after that’. A quick search of ‘Le Vell paedo’ on Twitter returns several tweets condemning an acquitted man as irrefutably guilty.
Unfortunately, labels stick, as we’ve seen time and time again with other accused celebrities. Michael Jackson was famously tried in court on two separate occasions for child molestation charges. The singer came to a private settlement with the accusers the first time around but was acquited in 2005. Both Jordie Chandler and Gavin Arviso have admitted lying about Jackson’s abuse but still, he is widely considered to be a predator. You probably didn’t know that because the media doesn’t want you to. These celebrities are stuck with this tag for lifetime and the liars that tarnish their livelihood usually get off scot free.
In fairness, many believed that Michael Le Vell was the victim of a Salem witch trial type scenario, basically meaning he was accused, knowing that the accusations alone were enough to ruin him – which they will. Michael Jackson was never the same after his court cases and like him, Michael Le Vell will always be the target of ‘paedophile’ jibes. Even though, the accuser didn’t get the defendant a conviction, he will still pay the price for this episode.
The question is what can be done? Why do people assume the worst? Well, in honesty, people resent success. It’s human nature to enjoy the fall of a person high up in the world because it makes civilians feel and look better. But the real culprits promoting this cause are the sensationalist tabloids who only sell papers if they convict without evidence. The Sun isn’t going to sell more copies of a paper that labels a loved Corrie star as ‘accused by probably innocent’ than they would labelling him as a ‘sick pervert’. The celebrities accused in these instances, and in fact, the general public should be given a greater chance at anonymity. Ultimately, although cleared of all charges, Michael Le Vell will be considered a sex offender for the rest of his days, whereas the mother and daughter who put him through this atrocity can carry on as normal because no one knows who they are. If you want to talk about perversion; how about perversion of the course of justice?