April 1977: Penthouse funding to NCCL for PIE’s Nettie Pollard falters

*again with thanks to A.N.Other

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Penthouse owner Bob Guccione

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A 1977 new model telephone

 

 

In April 1977, PIE member and NCCL Gay Rights worker Nettie Pollard almost lost her job. While she was busy writing to the Lord Chancellor’s office to request that Judge Alan King-Hamilton be disciplined for his comments on the Paedophile Information Exchange (looking like one big blackmail set-up)* during the case of R v Andre Thorne, the Penthouse grant from Bob Guccione which funded her role at NCCL was due for renewal in June or October that year. As ever, Lord Beaumont was Nettie’s first port of call in the House of Lords (despite no longer being Albany Trust chairman) when her plea for admonishment fell on deaf ears at the LC’s office.

Geoffrey Robertson, then a barrister of 4 years call, considered it a ‘moot point’ as to whether it would be renewed and was having discussions with Guccione as to conditions being attached to renewal. Robertson stated that the current grant had been given to support gay rights work but that Patricia [Hewitt’s] subsequent conversations with Penthouse meant that may have been altered.

The fact that Penthouse was acceptable funding for NCCL Gay Rights Committee staff and came with conditions shouldn’t perhaps be surprising in the context of Peter Righton’s fellow ACCESS trustee Dr Robert Chartham/Ronald Seth also being Penthouse Forum’s agony uncle, providing free 1 hour sessions on Wednesdays at a ‘clinic’, or Dr Charlotte Wolff or Michael De La Noy publishing articles there.

[*N.B. Judge Alan King-Hamilton presided at Playland Trial No. 2, Charles Hornby in July – September 1975 – David Archer’s dossier of ‘millionaires, influential and titled people’ escaping prosecution for abuse of boys at the Piccadilly amusement arcade]

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