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Home > Culture and Society

Pete Townshend: a word in his defence

Declan Duffy has been annoyed by our "lazy" and "not very humorous" comments about guitar legend Pete Townshend (for which, see the links at the foot of this piece).

He would like to set the matter straight...

9 February 2004

I don't think that anyone would say that what Townshend did could ever be justified, and I certainly won't. For such an apparently intelligent man he acted tremendously stupidly and thoughtlessly.

But the fact is that he himself was a victim of abuse as a child and this is part of the reason he involves himself in work which attempts to put an end to such abuse. He has stated that he was passing his findings to child support agencies at every stage of his investigations, and this has been acknowledged by them. Or is it your view that his work in this area is enough in itself to make him a sex-fiend?

However wrong his decision was to look at one of the sites, and let it be clear that his doing so is unforgivable, surely his motives for doing so must be considered. What of the people whose job it is to look at such footage as part of criminal investigations - must there be something suspicious about them, too?

Tremendously stupid Townshend was, yes. But a look into the man's past, and some knowledge of his character, is enough, I believe, to show that he has been unfairly branded. Pieces such as yours, which was, frankly, idiotic and puerile, do not help.

Here is a quote from a statement issued in June of last year by The Phoenix Survivors, a group who give help and support to victims of paedophiles. It can be found at www.phoenixsurvivors.com

Based on the evidence secured by the police and the facts, as we now know them, it is our humble opinion that Mr Townshend should never have been placed on the Sex Offenders Register. It is a gross injustice...

Mr Townshend should have been 'less publicly cautioned' and allowed a second chance. It seems that Roger Daltrey's assertions of a 'witch hunt' may indeed have real substance...

We do not believe that Mr Townshend is either a pervert or a paedophile, indeed he shows many signs of being a victim and certainly falls under the category of the 'misguided with innocent intent'. We do not think that Mr Townshend should have paid such a price for 'stupidity' and we now regret that we didn't stand up for him sooner and offer him our support.

For reference: here are a couple of the things which might have annoyed Mr Duffy:

Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only The Piano Player

The TFT People Of 2003

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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