Boy George: Why Is There No CCTV Footage Of Friend Philip Sallon Getting Beaten Unconscious?

Powered by article was written by Alexandra Topping, for The Guardian on Friday 8th April 2011 18.35 UTC

Boy George has talked of his fears of a growing intolerance towards people who stand out from the norm after his close friend Philip Sallon was attacked in central London following a night out.

Sallon, 59, known for his outrageous sense of style, remained in hospital on Friday with a fractured skull and broken bones after being attacked in the early hours of last Saturday.

He was found unconscious by paramedics in Shaftesbury Avenue at around 3.30am, after a witness called 999 before leaving the scene.

No witnesses have come forward and no CCTV footage of the attack outside the Gap store in Piccadilly Circus has been uncovered by police, who say there is as yet no evidence to suggest it was a homophobic attack. Police said in a statement: “The victim was outside the Gap store at approximately 03:30 hours when officers believe he was approached by two suspects who kicked him repeatedly in the head and subsequently ran off.”

But Boy George, real name George O’Dowd, said there were few other likely motivations. “It’s hard to say and you don’t want to jump to conclusions, but it must have been something to do with the way he looked,” he said. “I can’t think of any other reason. Philip is not a bruiser.”

The singer described Sallon – who founded the Mud Club in Tottenham Court Road in the 1980s – as his “oldest friend”, whom he had known since he was 15.

Sallon is well known for his style and outgoing personality. Admirers describe how during one club night in the 1980s he wore a dress made entirely of pound notes; by the end of the evening, after fellow clubbers had helped themselves, he was practically naked.

But George said he felt that attitudes towards overt individuality had hardened since the 80s. “These things go in circles,” he said. “In the early 80s there was this sense that things were changing, and becoming more open-minded. But we don’t have that sort of gorgeous youth culture any more, the glam rockers, the New Romantics. People aren’t so individual any more. There is this sense of why would you want to stand out and make a show of yourself?”

He added: “You can find that sort of attitude in the gay community too. That if you are an exhibitionist you are somehow spoiling the big assimilation. Most gay men go out of their way to look normal and fit in, but Philip is not of that breed.” Despite shifts in public attitudes towards homosexuality, much more progress still had to be made, George said. “Just because you see a few more gay people on TV doesn’t mean there is no longer a problem. In the last 10 years we have seen lots of attacks in the West End, people have been killed. [Homosexuals being targeted] is not uncommon.”

George was angry at police who have so far found no CCTV footage of the attack. “This is an area that we are told is a terrorist hotspot, with cameras everywhere and yet there is no footage – it just seems so unlikely,” he said. “This wasn’t a squabble, he was kicked repeatedly in the face, he could have been killed and he is still not out of danger.”

In a statement the Metropolitan police said the attack was being investigated by the Westminster serious violence team, but was not being treated as a homophobic crime.

Miriam Elia, Sallon’s niece, appealed for witnesses. “It was in the middle of central London – someone must have seen something,” she said.

The West End has seen an increase in homophobic attacks in the past 12 months, according to the Met. While overall homophobic crime dropped by 3% in the capital from 2009-10 to 2010-11, in Westminster, which contains the West End and Soho, there was a 20.9% increase – from 115 to 139 – in the 12 months to February compared with the same period a year earlier. In January a teenager was jailed for seven years for a savage homophobic attack in Trafalgar Square. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

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  • Shannon

    Kick the arabs OUT!

  • Tommy

    No one knows if this was a homophobic attack or not. Just because the victim is gay doesn’t necessarily make the attack homophobic.
    Philip Sallon is known for his bitchy put downs of other people. He’s one of the nastiest people on this earth. It’s just as likely some one took offense to what he said and beat him up for that.

  • alan brickman

    George is right..where is the footage??

  • Kev C

    George is right. With 10,000 CCTV cameras, Central London is the most CCTV’d place on earth. Where’s the footage?

  • me

    maybe it was not homophobia?
    maybe it was antisemitic attack?

  • markc

    I thought London had all those cameras. Wasn’t the big to do last decade? If they can get you running a red light, can’t they get you getting mugged by some fag bashers?
    Don’t we show up on camera just like red light runners?

  • markc

    Oooh, maybe we are invisible, like gay vampires. And only our vehicles show up on camera.

  • jason

    I think Boy George makes an interesting point about the increasing intolerance out there. He rightly makes the point that, during the early 80’s, individuality was all the rage, especially in London. People went out of their way to look different with asymmetrical hair-cuts and an androgynous overall appearance.

    One of the things that has happened since then is that British music lost its innovation and its influence. Music in Britain became conservative, with acts like Oasis basically trying to sound like throwback 60’s bands. British music also stopped charting in the United States, with very few acts indeed making any mark on the charts.

    Additionally, black homophobia was given a pass by the music industry. All those black acts like Buju Banton, 50 Cent etc are not exactly gay-friendly and yet they were given a pass by the music industry simply because they’re black.

  • markc

    So it sounds like if I wanted to mug someone, that Gap store address in London is the place to go, huh?
    Thanks London police.
    I think my next vacation will be in Mexico City.
    Just decided.

  • The sane Francis

    If it was solely a mugging, that really is irrelevant, because ultimately, that means someone was beaten for money and someone was beaten by thugs, and there isn’t any footage, even though there are security cameras everywhere. That means the streets are less safe, and that things have gotten lax in terms of defending the innocent from the animals. So hopefully there is some explanation quickly on why there is no footage of this crime and why things aren’t being explained in a timely manner.

  • Yazmov

    Maybe if he didn’t go out dressed like that, he wouldn’t draw so much attention and could blend in easier.

  • Kev C

    @Yazmov: Maybe he should consult with thugs before dressing himself. Maybe he should drink Fosters beer and eat Manwiches before going outside.

  • The sane Francis

    People who live their lives to appease others aren’t really living.

  • alan brickman

    Good to know Boy george is a good loyal friend…no wonder so many respect him!

  • alan brickman

    Glee should do an episode already!!!

  • tom_D

    @Shannon: I’m not one for feeding trolls but I guess you don’t live in London. If you did, you would know that none of the attacks in the West End have been carried out by “arabs” as you put it. Most are carried out by working class white and Afro-Carribean youth.

  • Cctv install

    I guess we all feel we live in such a civilised country that these things dont happen here, and if they do they will be recorded and the attackers brought to justice. Unfortunately nowhere is perfect.

Comments are closed.