Yesterday’s post about Jon Wedger’s recent interview with Lou Collins generated a good deal of discussion, both here and on Twitter. Further concerns were raised about Wedger’s reluctance to answer even the simplest of questions about his activities—including why he persists in referring to survivors of child trafficking as “prostitutes”, and their traffickers/rapists as “pimps”.
We also heard from Julian King of the Independent Police Support Group (IPSG), who reiterated his belief that Wedger does not qualify as a genuine police whistleblower:
I have personally met Mr Wedger on 3 occasions initially to try and help him as a whistleblower and it soon became apparent that he is not a genuine whistleblower, did not want any help wishing to go solo and did not care about or show any concern for other police whistleblowers.
He did also not seem to care about the victims he talks about and I found a nasty side to him supported by vile messages he sent to me recently.
Reading this blog post there is mention of people picking up on discrepancies in Mr Wedger’s interviews; these are not discrepancies [but] down right lies. Everything he says is either false or embellished.
He was not on pay for 3 years, he served 23 years not 25 years and only a small proportion of this time on child abuse.
He has lied about Maggie Oliver’s and my own case to try and bolster his own case.
As King points out in his own blog, this makes it difficult to distinguish truth from fiction in anything Wedger says:
Mr Wedger has provided false information in video interviews relating to other whistleblowers seemingly to bolster his own cause; this has not helped him because it has become difficult to distinguish what is the truth and what is not.
The most important thing missing from our perspective in the video interview with Anna Brees today is that there is no mention whatsoever of any discussion with the MPs concerning protection for police whistleblowers, which was apparently the main aim of the visit by Mr Wedger.
He mentions his campaign however; you could be forgiven for thinking that this was all about Mr Wedger. [T]here is again the noticeable absence of any other police whistleblowers, which is consistent with our contact with him where he declined help and wanted to go go it alone. Whilst saying that he could not do this on his own in his video, he is asking for support for his campaign from the public and not other police officers.
The campaign in question, as King says, appears to have much more to do with promoting Wedger as some sort of credible public figure, and much less to do with helping either police whistleblowers or abused/trafficked children.
Yesterday we pointed out that a key message in Wedger’s interview with Collins is that survivors of child sexual abuse ought to bring him their “testimonies”, so that he can “bravely make them public”.
We expressed concern that this sounds an awful lot like exploiting the experiences of survivors for his own gain. Commenter Flo Destroyer pointed out that Wedger and his publicist Anna Brees appear to have already begun this process.
Under the auspices of “Brees Media”, they have published an ebook titled Meat Rack Boy by Michael Tarraga.
The book, in which Tarraga tells the story of his childhood abuse, may be an example of what Wedger meant when he said he had a platform on which to share survivors’ “testimonies”. We have no quarrel with Tarraga’s decision to go public with his story, though we note that in the book’s preface he expresses concern about the impact this may have on the rest of his life. We hope it brings him peace, and that he finds that the benefits of telling his story outweigh the risks.
However, the idea that Wedger and Brees plan to begin a wholesale publication of survivors’ stories, with no plan in place to assist these survivors with any fallout which might result, is alarming.
As with Wedger’s various treks last year—walking from Parliament to Manchester, cycling from Parliament to Penzance, swimming round the Isles of Scilly—this book comes with the claim that “All the proceeds of the book will be spent on helping other survivors….finally have a chance to tell their story and get it heard”.
We expect that if asked exactly how these proceeds will be used to “help other survivors”, Wedger will respond in his usual fashion: he’ll block the questioner and delete the question.