Tuesday 23 January 2018

Celebrities can't just turn on and off publicity tap

The famous shouldn't be able to treat the little people as passive consumers, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

'PUBLISH and be damned' used to be the defiant slogan of the newspaper mogul. But today the slogan is 'publish and be sued' as the rich, famous and powerful all scurry off to the courts seeking injunctions to stop the press reporting on the details of their grubby little lives.

There are even things called 'super injunctions' now. Presumably those are ordinary mild-mannered injunctions which stop off in phone boxes to change, emerging moments later with a letter S pasted on their chests, bright red pants pulled on over blue tights. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Super Injunction, flying off once more on the never-ending battle for airbrushed PR, insincerity and the celebrity way.

Latest to run to the courts is the "instantly recognisable" global female pop star who last week was the centre of a blackmail trial. It emerged that a 24-year-old unemployed fitness instructor by the name of Sebastian Bennett had entered her house in London last November whilst she was asleep and stolen two laptops which turned out to contain 27 "highly sensitive" photographs. He then tried to sell them back to her. Aforementioned global female pop star promptly called in Scotland Yard, who set up a sting, recovered the memory stick, and arrested Bennett, who last week was cleared of burglary but convicted of blackmail and handling stolen goods at Isleworth Crown Court.

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