Rolf Harris guilty: The PR battle waged behind the scenes by Bell Pottinger to protect TV star's reputation
Harris accused of 'manipulating publicity' with daily 'staged, slow walk'
Rolf Harris hired the controversial PR firm Bell Pottinger as his reputation as one of the world’s most celebrated children’s entertainers was picked apart by allegations of abuse and his own admissions of infidelity.
The company – which has previously represented regimes such as Belarus and Sri Lanka – previously worked for Asil Nadir, the former head of Polly Peck, after his misguided decision to return to Britain from his northern Cypriot bolthole in order to fight fraud charges which resulted in a 10-year jail term.
The prosecution claimed that Mr Harris had “manipulated publicity” with his daily “staged, slow walk” into court past photographers with his entourage that included wife, Alwen, and daughter, Bindi, in a show of family support for the man who steadfastly denied any wrongdoing.
While the prosecution claimed it was "nothing more than a public relations exercise", the publicists claimed that the slow walk was necessary because of the state of wife Alwen’s knees.
Bell Pottinger is no stranger to controversy after its executives were secretly recorded in 2011 boasting about their access to the heart of Government and how it could bury bad coverage and influence public opinion.
Video: Rolf Harris leaves courtHarris had claimed that some of the women had made up stories against him for personal gain and cited the case of Tonya Lee – the only woman to have waived her anonymity – who was paid for interviews in her native Australia after the entertainer was arrested. She took on Max Markson, the best known celebrity agent in the country, who brokered a £26,000 magazine and TV deal on her behalf.
In his police interview, Harris said: “I also understand that she instructed a well known PR agent to sell her story to the media and that she is reported to have received a considerable sum for providing interviews.
Rolf Harris on the 'Rolf Harris Show', 1973 “I do not know Ms Lee’s motivation for fabricating these allegations but I am afraid that her actions do suggest that she may well be motivated by a desire for fame and financial reward.”
Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
Nazi gold train: 'Significant' discovery made in Poland
Toby Sheldon: Justin Bieber lookalike found dead in motel room
Horses 'neglected for 15 years' found with 3ft-long hooves
Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
- 1 Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
- 3 Toby Sheldon: Justin Bieber lookalike found dead in motel room
- 4 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
- 5 Pregnant teenager Neysi Perez 'wakes up in coffin' a day after her funeral