Ever since John Terry tried to get an injunction against newspapers revealing details of an affair he’d alledgedly been having, ‘gagging orders’ are an almost everyday occurrence against tabloids lining up their latest scandalous celebrity expose.
To be fair, you couldn’t move in the last two years with salacious stories of philandering footballers and cheating celebrities. The Ashley Cole affair that led to his divorce from Cheryl. The John Terry scandal. Vernon Kaye ‘sexting’ a colleague. Take That’s resident horny little chimp Mark Owen got outed for playing around with groupies, and Howard Donald followed suit with revelations about his own sexual shenanigans.
According to the Daily Mail, the courts have just granted a household name TV presenter a permanent gagging order preventing the papers leaking details of whatever sordid affair he’s been conducting. The paper grumbles that:
Effectively it hands another legal weapon to the wealthy seeking to hide their failings from the public. Legal experts said British courts have now begun to show favour to international ‘privacy shoppers’ looking for judges to help guard celebrity secrets.
It’s not so hard to see the flip side of that thinly-veiled argument – granting celebrities their right to privacy prevents tabloid papers from making a fortune selling sex scandals. It’s a tad disingenuous to pretend that the nation is somehow ‘losing out’ when the red tops are prevented from hanging out people’s dirty laundry. I mean, who really cares if a TV presenter is having an affair? Is it really in the public interest?
Discovering an affair might be in the best interests of the wronged wife. But I doubt that any wife wants their husband’s transgressions splashed across the front pages of the nation’s newspapers. It doesn’t take someone with a degree in empathy to understand how humiliating that might be, not to mention hurtful to any children involved in the relationship.
As immoral as the Daily Mail wants to pretend these gagging orders are, how does that compare to a football groupie sleeping with someone, then selling their story for thousands of pounds? Plus whatever extra they make from the follow-on photoshoots with lad’s mags?
And I know I’m in a minority here, but I’m so tired of learning about the dirty little secrets that lie behind closed doors. If you put all the “Love Rat Ashley Cole” stories end to end, they’d wrap around the moon 12 times. (possibly untrue) And Vernon Kaye sexting – what was that about? An irrelevant light entertainer flirting with a colleague. Happens every day all around the world.
I have to agree with Charlie Brooker’s recent column, in which he blasted tabloid hacks for actively making the world a worse place. That’s partly in reaction to the phone tapping scandal, but also to the mind-numbing calibre of celebrity gossip that is a staple part of tabloid culture. Seriously. The country dips into a serious recession, and the red tops are more concerned about the insipid Jordan/Peter/Alex triangle.
As much as a ‘blow’ the recent injunctions have been to the press, it might actually be a positive thing for the public. We’ve been spared yet another invasive round of titilating affair gossip. Are we poorer for it? No. The sensationalised version of the story would likely have been exaggerated beyond recognition, making a soap opera out of someone’s real life situation.
I’m certainly not saying that cheating celebrity husbands deserve a free pass, but is it right to reveal the affair to the nation? I mean, the only take away lesson from celebrity gossip is that footballers and television personalities will take sexual opportunities whenever they arise. And they arise a lot.
How do you feel about celebrity press injunctions – is it right to reveal celebrity marital affairs to the nation (often before the spouse finds out) or should public figures be granted the same right to privacy as everyone else?