Pornography allegations were raised as the closing speeches began in the epic High Court privacy battle between Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Hello! magazine.
The couple sold the rights to their authorised wedding photographs to Hello! rival OK! and are seeking damages, along with OK!, over Hello!’s use of unauthorised wedding pictures.
Pornography allegations were levelled at OK! publisher Northern & Shell by James Price, QC for Hello!.
“To put it bluntly, Northern & Shell’s business is pornography,” he told Mr Justice Lindsay at the start of his submissions.
Price’s claim brought a swift response from Michael Tugendhat, QC representing the Douglases and Northern & Shell.
“I don’t understand what he is saying,” he said. “It is obviously a smear.” “Yes, but it is true,” replied Price.
Price said it was difficult to accept the Douglases’ complaints about Hello!’s use of their wedding photographs when viewed against the syndication of the official photographs throughout the world .
He said one Danish magazine, SE Og Hor, had carried a syndicated photograph on its front cover next to a picture of a bare-breasted woman.
This was a magazine that included “hard core” images inside, he added.
Price claimed that although the legal battle was essentially about confidentiality and privacy, control was the Douglases’ main motive.
“What has been proved is that the Douglases wanted control of publicity, not privacy,” he said. “Control of publicity and privacy are two different subjects.”
By Roger Pearson