Fame and Fortune.
You’re a celebrity, whatever that means, and you get paid loads of money. You are in the lime-light, you enjoy a lavish lifestyle and people give you stuff so your fans see you with it. You get awards. You are driven most places in cars with blacked out windows so the gawpers and paparazzi can’t see in
You make a film, an album, a TV programme, write a book (well someone does that for you really but don’t tell anyone) and sometimes you give a speech. When you are doing something which shows you in a good light, you want people to know about it and you avail yourself to journalists and photographers for as much time as it takes. No problem.
Then a silly story appears in the press about you, which is true, partially true or not true at all and you are horrified. You run to Uncle Matt Crawford (name changed to protect the innocent) or hit the courts for an injunction or most likely both. No problem. You are entitled to your privacy unless you decide otherwise like when it suits your PR activities.
Then one of your mates tells you that they think their mobile phone has been hacked. Hacked you say what’s hacked? The press have been getting access to your phone voicemail. You are of course shocked. You get messages, which could cause you problems if they were made public. You are horrified. You are advised to change the pin number on your voice mail but you don’t, well not yet anyway.
Then you think about things and how, lo and behold, there have been times when the paparazzi have been waiting for you. How did they know where you’d be? Then you think of other examples when reporters have been on hand at odd places as well.
YOU’VE HAD YOUR PHONE HACKED TOO! Shock! Horror! Probe!
Another call to Uncle Matt. Uncle Matt is good at keeping things quiet but he also knows an opportunity when he sees one. A large band waggon comes along and Uncle Matt gets you a seat on it along with some of his other “clients” and although there is a small charge for this service (I say small but that’s a euphemism) it will be worth it.
Soon you’re on the evening news almost in tears because your private life has been breached. Bad men and maybe even bad ladies have hacked your phone causing you distress. Another nice Uncle, Uncle Shark who happens to be a lawyer, suggests you sue the press. Which one to sue though? Uncle Shark suggests you go for the biggest fish because they have more money and also because everyone is going to do it to them even the government.
Before you know where you are you’ve been a star witness at the Leveson Enquiry and then the newspaper group you were suing settles and you get a nice wee bung. £40,000. That’s handy. Always nice to get a bonus. It’ll be reduced by £10,000 for your lawyer and PR fees but hey it’s a result.
Far from the truth do you think Dear Reader?
Almost all of the newspapers have been guilty of hacking phones. If they did it once does that make them any better than those did it a number of times? Make your own mind up.
My advice to the newspapers, like they would be interested, is not to carry any coverage of “celebrities” in your rag unless they or their publicist or film company, publisher, record label etc. etc. pay advertising rates for the coverage. The article, when it appears, should also be labelled as an advertising piece when it appears.. No more shots of them on the red carpet. No more coverage of the arrival of children, weight gain/loss, holidays and everything lese they get fro free now.
No more wee chats with BBC/ITV/Sky presenters on chat shows. Oh no. The BBC shouldn’t be doing that anyway it’s advertising. ITV and Sky can make up their own minds but they should charge the celebs to appear since it will be advertising of celebrities products. Why aren’t TV company shareholders asking why these people get free advertising? They can well afford to pay.
Charge them for publicity and/or starve them of publicity and see how long it is before they start squealing.
If there is a sniff of celebrity impropriety, and you just know there will be by the bucket full, the press should investigate but do so with the highest standards of journalism and accuracy.
They wanted privacy, they have it. Unless they carry on in an illegal or immoral way. Don’t worry about Uncle Matt. He’s a good Christian so he will be the first one to point the finger when they misbehave. He’ll be approaching editors and journos to help them ensure they have the facts as accurate as possible. He may even help provide more “background” information, as he will be appalled by theses celebs, he has represented in the past.
No need for Leveson to report then. Done and dusted. End