Louis Theroux Has Some Very Interesting Stuff To Say About Max Clifford

Documentary maker apologises for not finding out about Max's abuses of young women earlier...

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by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

Documentary maker Louis Therouxhas spoken out about that time he made a programme about PR guru Max Clifford, who's just started an eight-year prison sentence after being found guilty of eight counts of sexually assaulting several women, some of whom were underage at the time.

Clifford, who is the first person to be convicted through the efforts of Operation Yewtree, the investigation unit set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, appeared as an 'odd mixture of playfulness and menace' in Louis' 2002 documentary.

Louis says that although he saw no evidence of sexual assualt while filming the documentary – 'of that I saw and heard nothing' – he admits, especially watching it back now since Clifford's conviction, he found some of his behaviour very eerie.

In a Facebook post today, Louis has said the way Clifford behaved in court – photobombing a journalist reporting on the trial for example – wasn't uncharacteristic.

And when filming with him, he noticed Clifford prank-calling a friend to tell them that Louis had confessed to sleeping with Christine Hamilton (he hadn't) and how it mirrored what Clifford had done to the girls. In court, it was heard that Clifford frequently prank-called the girls he abused, pretending to be Hollywood stars and directors so he could 'bully and manipulate' girls into sex acts.

'Max’s shenanigans on the speakerphone in the back of the car resonated, in a small way, with the accounts of victims, several of whom described him pulling pranks on the phone during his offences,' Louis says.

He also points out that Clifford was always obsessed with sex, using sex as a means to gain power, explaining, 'It was clear, looking back on it, that Max’s world revolved around sex – covering up unwanted sex stories by creating other, fictitious sex stories. Sex was a currency for him and I suppose it is not a massive leap to see that trafficking in kiss-and-tell and “honeytraps” might lead to a coarse and desensitized attitude to sex generally.'

Eerily, the last line of Louis' documentary – which, made in 2002, pre-dated any allegations of sexual assault against him – makes some sense of the way Clifford called his accusers 'liars' and 'fantasists', saying, 'I stand by everything I've said in the past’ – even after he was found guilty at Southwark Crown Court. What was the last line of Louis' documentary? 'The curious thing was that when caught out he wouldn’t come clean, and I wasn’t sure he ever would.'

Which is perhaps why Louis also felt that he should apologise for not exposing enough of Clifford's lies. 'I’m sorry I couldn’t have shed more light on Max’s secret. I wish I’d heard from his victims while I was making the documentary, or afterwards.'

You can read the whole piece from Louis right here. Makes for better – yet much more depressing – reading than any kiss-and-tell we've ever seen.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Picture: Rex

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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