I have spent quite a lot of my career working on showbiz desks on newspapers and magazines, and I’ve seen all sorts of images that come into the picture desks. Believe it or not, there is a line – often to do with taste and decency, and also the PCC code – which means that many of these images never see the light of day.
By publishing the topless photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge French Closer and its self-serving editor Laurence Pieau hasn’t just crossed the line. To borrow a phrase from Joey Tribiani, they’ve gone so far past the line, the line is a dot to them.
Kate and William were in a chateau belonging to Viscount Linley where they had every reasonable expectation of total privacy. French Closer will try to argue that the the photographs could have been taken from a stretch of road 400m away, or from a hunting lodge, or anywhere else. But the point really isn’t that the photographs were taken, lamentable though that is. It’s that French Closer and Pieau chose to publish them (and now an Italian magazine is planning to do the same).
The pursuit of sales when you’re in the celebrity magazine or women’s magazine market is all-encompassing, and in the current climate, where these magazines are losing readers in droves, their editors are becoming ever more desperate. But no British magazine editor – indeed, no British newspaper editor – would cross that line and publish topless photographs of Kate. You may think that the British press has no morals, but let me tell you, there are always very serious discussions at conference about taste and decency, celebs who are considered ‘fair game’ because of the way they choose to exploit the press when it suits them, and those who need to be treated with respect.
I’m not defending British celebrity magazines (although I would say the relationship between agents and publicists and these magazines is very complex). But I do know that there’s a reason why they wouldn’t have printed those images of Kate, who is, after all, married to the future King. It’s a gross intrusion of privacy. In other words, the line was well and truly crossed. Now I hope that Bauer Media revokes Closer France’s licence, and Laurence Pieau is given a lot of of time to sit quietly in a corner and think about how she betrayed not just her profession, but also her sex.