I used to work on British Closer. We would never have run those pictures of Kate

September 15, 2012

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.

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  • Mummy Glitzer September 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I think that she had a reasonable expectation to privacy and if you take the sort of precautions they did (a privately owned villa on a privately owned estate a good distance from the road) then she has every right to sue. I know the gutter paps are always going to use long lenses and try their best but everyone has a right to a certain amount of privacy.

    As an aside I am surprised the editor is female.

    • Liz Jarvis September 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      In a way, knowing the Editor is female makes it even worse, IMHO

  • Tattie Weasle September 16, 2012 at 10:48 am

    It is a complex game PR and press but this is exploitative. And wrong. They were not in a public place they were at a private residence, the duchess was not flaunting herself ipublic she was in private. Thus the phtots should not have been taken without her permission let alone published.

    • Liz September 16, 2012 at 1:50 pm

      Totally agree Tattie

  • Felicity Fox September 16, 2012 at 9:05 am

    You could say that the Royals are fair game because of the way they exploit their position. I do believe in privacy but a thirty year old women should know that if she has her top off there is every chance that in a mobile obsessed world images can be taken and shared. I’m sure their bodyguards would have been close by, so as for privacy I don’t believe this spin. The only thing that has been exposed is that their PR machine has unravelled slightly, and what worries me most is the amount of control the Royal family appear to have over the press.

    • Liz September 16, 2012 at 1:50 pm

      Felicity – the point is surely that the Royals were somewhere where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy, on private property, sharing an intimate moment and not in the public eye. I imagine this will be the foundation of the legal battle.

  • Liska September 15, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks this is really enlightening, especially the end – never realised Laurence is female.

    Great to get an inside from an insider.

    Wonder how long this story will rage on. The radio is full of it.

    • Liz September 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      I imagine it will go on for a while Liska