He wrote the introduction to the diaries of Donald Friend, diaries detailing 10 years of Donald Friend’s sex with Balinese boys as young as 9 years old. In the introduction Barry Humphries referred to his friend as a “Benevolent Pedophile”, suggesting that as his friend had up to 20 of these ‘houseboys’ and gave accommodation and schooling in exchange for sex, that this was somehow benevolent, and Humphries certainly visited and stayed with Donald Friend during the 10 years, enjoying his ‘hospitality’.
I, of course have my own memories of Barry Humphries, memories from his dark days as an alcoholic in the very early 1970s.
I’d like to think people change, but finding that Barry Humphries created a new character for his farewell tour, made me feel he is probably what he always was, before the early 1970s and after it when he gave up the grog to become the Australian icon the public made him. For the new character he created to mesmerise and entertain his audiences on his farewell tour was Gerard, a pedophile priest. So now Barry Humphries feels pedophilia can not only be benevolent, but that it is funny, a laughing matter, and something people from all walks of life should light heartedly be able to chuckle at.
“It is staggering that Humphries himself still has the stamina to hold the stage for two hours. Alongside Edna, other favourite characters take the stage, including Sir Les Patterson, that belching emissary of Australian values, and Sandy Stone, the ghostly figure of suburban mundanity, along with a new one, Gerard, Sir Les’s paedophile Catholic priest brother.” Sydney Morning Herald
I can think of plenty of children who don’t think that’s funny. I can think of plenty of adults who were once those children who still don’t think that’s funny. And playing Emperor’s New Clothes in getting multitudes of uninformed people to laugh along at Humphries playing a pedophile priest won’t change that one bit.
I acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Owners of this country throughout Australia, and their connection to land and community.