Mailvox: Arthur C. Clarke: Predator or victim?

TS objects to the inclusion of Arthur C. Clarke among the pedophiles of science fiction:

I just finished reading “Safe Space as Rape Room” and I’m disappointed that you continue to include Sir Arthur Clarke in your list of child predators.  Following up on our earlier email correspondence I spent time over several days looking at everything I could on the Internet about this.  And no, I did not go to Sri Lanka.  What I found during my research satisfied me that he’s innocent of the charge.

Clarke denied (on multiple occasions) that he ever said what was alleged in the Daily Mirror.  He is also on record saying that pedophilia is wrong.  None of his writings give any hint whatsoever that he favors pedophilia.  When Sri Lankan police and Interpol asked the Daily Mirror for tapes of the interview, they were not produced.  The Sri Lankan authorities are on record as saying that Clarke “has been cleared” of the pedophilia charges against him.  Why do you believe the Daily Mirror’s accusations but not Clarke’s denials and the Sri Lankan authorities?  And, and I think this is very telling, why did no one come forward after he died and accuse him of sex abuse (ala Jimmy Savile)?

I think you are seriously wronging Sir Arthur.  Please don’t put him into the same category with Kramer, Delaney, Zimmer et al.  He doesn’t deserve it.

Why don’t I believe Clarke’s denials? Because most criminals are not prone to openly confessing to criminal activity. Why don’t I believe the Sri Lankan authorities? I do believe them. But they did not clear him of the pedophilia charges made against him, they simply stated the fact that no actual charges had been made.

National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) chief Jagath Wellawatte said there was no case against the writer, who captured the world’s imagination with 2001: A Space Odyssey and visions of extra-terrestrial civilisations.

“We had no case against Clarke and no one had come forward to say they were abused by him,” Mr Wellawatte said.

The agency was established under new child protection laws enacted after the allegations against Clarke surfaced.

“We have not had any formal complaint or testimony from anyone saying they were abused by Sir Arthur,” said NCPA investigator WTD Wijesena. “We cannot go on the basis of rumours.”

That is not an investigation and exoneration. That is simply an absence of a victim willing to testify against a powerful and influential man. Furthermore, there is documentary evidence that the media went to some lengths to look the other way.

The News of the World spiked an exclusive story exposing the science fiction writer Arthur C Clarke as a paedophile, according to a new book about life inside the newspaper whose closure was announced a year ago today.

Can we say for certain that Clarke was a pedophile? No, not at this point. But what we can say is that the claims, by Clarke and others, that he was “celibate” and “unable to engage in sexual relations” for decades sound eerily like the same claims about Walter Breen’s impotence that were made falsely by Marion Zimmer Bradley before he was convicted of molesting children.