Two years after winning her privacy action against the Mirror, and just a few months after the Lords overturned the Mirror’s succesful Appeal, Naomi Campbell has told Michael Parkinson that she first took drugs 10 years ago.
“I did a drug, a speedy drug,” she says in the show.
Parkinson asks whether it was like cocaine.
Campbell replies: “Uh-huh” before adding: “No one forced me to do it. I did it because I wanted to. I don’t have any blame for anyone but myself.”
“I go to (rehabilitation) meetings in every country I’m in … I have a sponsor,” she said. “When you stop drugs, you have to stop everything.”
It’s this last part that is of most interest when seen in the context of the case against The Mirror. Casting our minds back to that case, the judge said:
‘The public had a need to know that Naomi Campbell had been misleading the public by her denials of drug addiction.
‘And balanced and positive journalism demanded the public be told Miss Naomi Campbell was receiving therapy for her drug addiction.’
According to Piers Morgan, the Mirror’s editor at the time:
” Apparently the offending words that brought us to this farcical court case were, ‘Narcotics Anonymous’, which is the world’s most famous treatment centre for drug addiction… She has won the massive sum of £3,500, which by anybody’s yardstick is an embarrassingly small, derisory sum of money.
In a seperate statement after the Lords ruling, Morgan said:
“This is a very good day for lying, drug-abusing prima donnas who want to have their cake with the media, and the right to then shamelessly guzzle it with their Cristal champagne.”
By going on ‘Parky’ and declaring her history of drugs and drugs therapy is not Campbell actually confirming that the Mirror were right that the matter was one of national interest?
I must admit that I have little interest in the likes of Naomi Campbell, but then I am not the general public. No doubt many millions will tune in to Campbell’s interview with Michael Parkinson and will be avidly peering at the screen, and listening to her every word.
Therefore, in this case, I have to put aside my instincts – which normally lean towards the individual’s right to privacy. The crucial context in this particular case was expressed neatly by the original trial judge when he declared:
‘I must consider Naomi Campbell’s evidence with caution…She has shown herself over the years lacking in frankness and veracity with the media and manipulative and selective in what she has chosen to reveal about herself.
‘I am satisfied that she lied on oath.’
In a week that saw the England football players refusing to give any interviews after their victory against Poland, because of the nature of the criticism from the media after their draw against Austria, perhaps celebrities in all walks of life are trying to assert themselves by sticking a finger up at the media.
The trouble is that many of them receive massive wage packets and sponsorship deals based on their media coverage. They may win the battles, but one suspects that the hacks will make sure they are just pyrhhic victories.