Confusion reigns within the Northcliffe House bunker this morning, after actor George Clooney told the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre that they could take their apology and shove it. Clooney’s denouncement of the Mail’s mainly fabricated article about his partner’s mother showed he was not prepared to yield to the Mail. He has now underscored that stance.
What's f***ing wrong with kicking Hollywood A-listers, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
This is uncharted territory for the Dacre doggies: they are used to kicking slebs, only yielding at the door of the court after those who can afford it decide to take them to the cleaners. And what is worse, Clooney is not the only Hollywood A-lister to respond robustly to the Mail’s routine and mean-spirited nastiness: Angelina Jolie has indicated that she is about to consult lawyers.
Ms Jolie has taken exception to the Mail’s use of an old video of her apparently under the influence of drugs: “The Maleficent star has been open about her drug-taking past but is said to believe the publication of the video is a ‘gross violation of her privacy’ ... And journalists in the US claim the video is ‘ancient history’ and that ‘pictures like this have been floating around for years’”.
Worse, it seems the Mail may have lifted the video: “It is alleged that the video was taken by the Mail from the National Enquirer, a US supermarket checkout weekly that publishes celebrity gossip”. Oh dear! None of this will do Dacre’s credibility any good, and so does not augur well for his decision not to vacate the editor’s chair. It won’t help the Mail’s push into the States, either.
Nor should any other part of the UK tabloid media get too complacent about the Mail coming up short against genuine celebrity resistance: Ms Jolie may recall the revelations made by the now-defunct Screws concerning her, Brad Pitt, and Jennifer Aniston, which gave the impression of being obtained by eavesdropping, wiretap, or maybe both: intimate details of phone conversations were featured.
We know this as the serially tenacious Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads fame posted a scan of Page 9 of the Screws from 9 January 2005, showing that the article, under the joint by-lines of Carole Aye Maung and Rav Singh, even described the tone of voice used by Pitt and Ms Jolie. The potential involvement of now-jailed Anthony Pellicano, former “PI to the stars” I covered at the time.
Pitt and Ms Jolie later sued the Screws over another story, and the latest development shows that the Mail is next in line. Will she and her partner go back and take the Murdoch press to court again? Will Clooney be the next to instruct lawyers? One can have no sympathy for the tabloid press – you invent stories or obtain them by illegal means, don’t expect to be given a free pass for it.
If Paul Dacre thought Jo Rowling was bad, he hadn’t found out about the Yanks.