To most American voters (especially the younger ones), Jeb Bush’s new slogan will mostly just sound uninspired, and slightly reminiscent of Bob the Builder. But for pretty much anyone even mildly aware of British popular culture, the words “Jeb Can Fix It,” soon to be plastered on every surface his dying campaign can touch, will bring to mind just one thing: Jimmy Savile, one of the most prolific child abusers in the history of entertainment.
Jeb! unveils his new campaign slogan. pic.twitter.com/4SEA35LSAb— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 2, 2015
For unfamiliar Yanks, Savile was one of Great Britain’s most beloved and popular entertainers during his lifetime, covering the gamut from radio to television to charity work and everything in between. He was even knighted by the Queen in 1990. But after Savile died in 2011, what had long been sporadic and stifled allegations of sexual abuse began to blow up. And up and up and up.
By November of 2012, it was revealed that 450 alleged victims had come forward in the mere ten weeks since the police launched an investigation into Savile’s behavior. According to a BBC report from the time, of the hundreds of alleged victims, 82% were female and 80% were “children or young people.”
In 2014, a new report from the Health Secretary revealed that Savile also may have sexually abused patients at over 40 different hospitals he had visited under the auspice of “charity work.” With the Daily Mail writing that “Savile is thought to have abused patients aged from just five to 75.”
And before all that came to light, Jimmy Savile had a wildly popular children’s show called Jim’ll Fix It.
The premise of the show was that children would write to beloved entertainer and secret sexual predator Jimmy Savile with wishes, which he would fulfill. The grateful children would then receive medals inscribed with the words “Jim Fixed It For Me.”
That slogan is now inexorably linked, in the British popular imagination, to a depraved and vile criminal, whose unconscionable acts were covered up by powerful people for decades. And also, now, to Jeb Bush.
Why no one in Jeb Bush’s still somewhat well-staffed campaign thought this slogan might be a bad idea is unclear. We’ve reached out to Jeb!’s camp for comment, and will update when and if we hear back.
In England [Jimmy Savile] has a cancerous, horrifying reputation built on a history of “looking after” and “supporting kids” that then turned into a really, really disgusting revelation of sneaking into hospitals.
It’s not a good look to adopt that phrase. Ever. It is bad. It is a bad idea.
Oh dear... Yeah, the phrase would definitely bring out the [Savile] connection over here. I know America doesn’t look too far outside of its borders but.... come on, Jeb!
It is so perfectly Jeb Bush to pick something reminiscent of a horrible pedophile in trying to revitalize his campaign. It’s not exactly offensive, but being reminded of “Jim’ll Fix It” these days is definitely unpleasant.
It really is hard to convey just how disturbing “Jim’ll Fix It” is now. The show was way before my time, but I knew about it because it was a big cultural reference point. And now it just has such horrifying connotations. Very similar to the Cosby thing.
If Jeb is looking for things to fix, this seems like a good place to start.