England: judge says role mode status not enough to reveal cheating celebrity’s identity in godless Britain
A judge has ruled role-model status is insufficient justification for revealing the identity of a celebrity who had an affair because in as godless a society as Britain only the puritanical now believe celebrities’ sexual escapades should be made public.
The identities of the ex-lovers were widely discussed on social media in breach of a High Court order stopping the Sun on Sunday from revealing them.
A lawyer called the privacy injunction a “swingers’ charter” – a license for the wealthy to have affairs without any risk of their spouse finding out.
Mrs Justice Laing said the right to privacy and family life of the sportsman, referred to as A1, was more important that his former lover’s right to freedom of expression until the case had been given full consideration.
The woman in the case has already been in the media spotlight, having had a number of affairs.
Her lover did not deny they met in hotels when he should have been working and that he misled his team manager and future wife.
But the judge said A1 had not misled the public by cultivating one image of himself and leading another life.
She said that while what he did was hurtful to the women involved it was risky to treat such behaviour as socially damaging.
Mrs Justice Laing said: “This is a particular risk for a court in an increasingly secular society in which some issues, especially questions of sexual conduct, do not attract the consensus which they once did.
“Few people, other than adherents to strict religious codes, could rationally consider that this conduct is so fundamentally inconsistent with being a role model of the kind which A1 is that there is a public interest in exposing it.”
The judge added: “ caused private pain; but no one was corrupted or coerced. The conduct had no ramifications beyond the three people affected by it. It did not affect society in any way.”
Mark Stephens, of Howard Kennedy solicitors questioned what the problem is in revealing the pair’s identities, saying:“If it is correct that the affair causes no harm to the reputation of the role model then where is the harm in telling everybody?
“Judges seem to be saying you can do what you want and it is nobody else’s business.
“It is a swingers’ charter. But what about the right, from the public health side, for the wife to know that her husband is having sex with other people?”