Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, August 2019, Message from the Chairman

Steven FerryMessage from the Chairman

by Steven Ferry

Please Don’t Drown

The mentions of butlers in the media elsewhere in this month’s newsletter include a butler talking too freely and an ex-butler who turned out to be a pedophile. I have not included the various Hollywoodesque mentions of Alfred Pennyworth, Batman’s butler who seems to have taken over from Batman (or is it Superman or Spiderman?) as the hero of the story—a most unbutlerish thing to do!

A more important story that has been mentioned in the media, off and on, features the household manager who assisted convicted pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein, in his illegal sexual affairs. Given the little black book that was kept of the celebrities and dignitaries who may or may not have shared in Epstein’s perversions, it is likely that other butlers and household managers may be serving employers who are similarly guilty of illegal acts.

At what point does a butler turn from a loyal servant who sees, hears, and says nothing, to being a responsible member of society?

Sex is a fun subject that is natural and not something to be suppressed, or about which we should be making judgements of our employers. Different individuals and groups have different perspectives on what constitutes acceptable sex or sexual and moral behaviour. One has to know the employer’s rules as well as one’s own moral code and not cross either line.

But when the employer’s activity is patently illegal (as in the case of pedophelia) then not taking action, or even assisting, or withholding information from the authorities, is equally illegal.

And that is what Epstein’s house manager did: He cleaned up after his employer every day; turned a blind eye to the under-age sex; and furthermore, kept or stole a diary (sorry, I have not followed this story very closely) and not only withheld it from the police when they were investigating his employer, but also tried to extort money for it from the lawyer representing the plaintiffs (the under-age girls).

No doubt, this house manager (who, sadly, has since passed on) did not sign on the dotted line before being hired by his employer, agreeing to turn a blind eye to any and all illegal activities with young girls. He probably slipped slowly into this morass until he lost all moral compass. At this point, life probably became fraught with difficulty, a guilty conscience, worries about being caught, etc. This can be a lonely time as there are few who can help a person extricate themselves from this self-spun spider’s web.

If you find yourself now or in the future in such a situation, know that you can reach out to us—we are trained counsellors and specialists in ethics, and can help you find the way out of this morass/spider’s web/maze with your dignity intact and freedom still on the radar. It is certainly not worth dying over.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people- skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.