After the Grillo sisters were cleared of defrauding then-married Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi, some papers were content just to do the straight reporting. But over at Northcliffe House, the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre had other ideas. From the start, the Daily Mail has been in Team Nigella. So today has come a slew of knocking copy which takes aim squarely at Saatchi.
What's f***ing wrong with kicking the baddies, c***?!?
When there are so many articles on one subject, it is inconceivable that Dacre would not have personally ordered his attack doggies over the top, especially when the piece de resistance has come from Geoffrey “Lickspittle” Levy, the journeyman gofer who penned the original hatchet job on Ralph Miliband. Levy brings the authentic sound of His Master’s Voice to the table.
So even the straight reporting focuses on Nigella’s plight: “Wrath of the domestic goddess: As aides are cleared of fraud, Nigella's fury at being made a ‘ridiculous sideshow’ in court” howls the headline. Then comes “Inside Nigella's toxic marriage: She was haunted by depression. He was a terrible bully driven mad by jealousy of her children. The bitter truth behind Nigella and Saatchi's marital breakdown”.
As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point. Saatchi is described in turn as a bully, a control freak, bad-tempered. He disliked her children, who were banished to separate parts of the house to keep them out of his way, and would be sent on holiday with the Grillos so he could be with Nigella. All is pored over in detail. And then come the “opinion” pieces.
Bel Mooney wants us to Think About The Children: “Let’s not forget that there are three innocent victims of this excruciating marital break-up” (though not excruciating for Bel’s bank account). “The three children (still so young, so impressionable and so needy at 20, 19 and 17) of Saatchi and Nigella were dragged into the very public airing of very dirty laundry and I suspect it will haunt their lives forever”.
If only anyone at the Mail really gave a crap. And finally comes Levy’s boot in the Saatchi undercarriage: “A brutal genius who craves power even more than money: A shocking portrait of the real Charles Saatchi”, laced with quotes from “friends” and other “sources”, who are of course always “well-placed” or “long-time acquaintances”. There is nudge-nudgery in abundance.
“Now the gilded doors of his private life have burst open to reveal an unattractive seediness at the heart of truly endless opulence ... This need for recognition is the paradox of Charles Saatchi”. He was manipulative, of his wife as he was in the world of art. You get the picture: this is the baddie. At this point, readers should start to boo and hiss. This is now the established wisdom. Because Dacre says so.
Why all the coverage? Celebrity divorce sells papers. That’s all Dacre cares about.