Max Clifford, the celebrity publicist, has been arrested on suspicion of sexual offences under Operation Yewtree, the Scotland Yard investigation into allegations of sexual abuses, instigated in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Mr Clifford, who built his reputation advising famous people how to deal with Britain’s tabloid press, is the fifth person to be arrested under the investigation, which has been running since late October. Since that time, Scotland Yard has been contacted by more than 500 alleged victims.
His arrest follows a number of television appearances in which he questioned where police inquiries into allegations of sexual abuse were heading.
In an interview with Sky News, the publicist revealed he had been contacted by more than a dozen celebrities worried about becoming embroiled in wider investigations into sexual misconduct dating back to the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.
“All kinds of things went on and I do mean young girls throwing themselves at them in their dressing rooms at concert halls, at gigs, whatever,” he told Sky News. “They never asked for anybody’s birth certificate, and they were young lads. . . Suddenly everyone’s dream was a reality.”
In a separate interview with ITV’s Daybreak, he said: “It is a situation that could easily turn into a witch-hunt. A lot of big stars are frightened.”
He added: “I hope the police concentrate on finding people like Jimmy Savile who were manipulating girls.”
As he left a London police station on Thursday night, Mr Clifford said the allegations were ‘damaging and totally untrue’.
Mr Clifford’s arrest relates to investigations under Operation Yewtree’s “other” category, denoting allegations not involving the late Mr Savile.
Others who have been detained so far are the pop star Gary Glitter, comedian Freddie Starr, retired BBC producer Wilfred De’Ath and former radio DJ Dave Lee Travis.
The arrests follow widespread allegations of sexual abuse perpetrated by Mr Savile, dating as far back as the 1960s.
In October, the BBC announced it would conduct two investigations into the scandal.
Dame Janet Smith is probing the culture and practices at the BBC during the years he worked there.
Nick Pollard, a former head of Sky News, is investigating failings in BBC management over a decision made last December not to broadcast a Newsnight investigation into the alleged sex abuse. This report is expected by mid-December.