A man named John Barry, 61, was forced to quit his job as a Jimmy Savile lookalike after the sex abuse scandal about the deceased DJ emerged.
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Before it was public knowledge that Savile had abused hundreds of women and children, Barry said he enjoyed working as the lookalike, describing how men, women and children were all eager to have their photo taken with him.
However, after someone shouted “child molester” at him, Barry knew that his career as Savile had come to an end.
That was the first inclination I got that something was amiss. Before that point I had no idea.
Seriously, he had no idea?
No inclination, whatsoever!?
Anyway, Barry added that this was the beginning of a traumatic period that he had no idea was coming in the wake of the DJ’s death and with each new revelation about Savile’s paedophilic behaviour, a piece of his career crumbled away.
At the beginning I didn’t want to believe it – I was enjoying doing the character – but things started to snowball and I realised it was no longer appropriate.
I had jobs in the book for a little while after and I was surprised when they didn’t cancel immediately.
Then a few weeks down the line my agent would call and say ‘John, so and so has cancelled’, and then she’d ring again later, ‘so and so has cancelled’, and those calls kept coming.
For the gigs that didn’t cancel, Barry said he received a whole load of abuse, revealing how some people would shout “paedo” at him and give dirty looks as he walked by. Eventually he decided enough is enough and chose to quit the Savile gig for good.
Now Barry has gone back to his former character, Austin Powers. It might be a bit outdated and already done a hundred times over, but at least he’s no longer dressing up as one of the most dangerous and despised paedophiles in world history, so that’s something.
I know I made a joke earlier questioning how Barry had no idea that Jimmy Savile was a paedo but to be fair to him, Savile’s entourage did such a good job of covering it up that even people who were close to the former DJ had no clue. It’s sad but true.