Max Clifford guilty: Simon Cowell is first high profile client to disassociate himself from publicist after he is ‘horrified’ at teenage sexual assault verdict
Simon Cowell has reportedly washed his hands of his PR advisor Max Clifford, after the publicist was found guilty of eight counts of sexual assault on women as young as 15.
Clifford has represented Cowell for over a decade as his spokesperson, and is one of the key figures behind shaping the music mogul’s ‘cruel to be kind’ public image.
However, the pair are thought to have finally parted company following Clifford’s guilty verdict, which was delivered at Southwark Crown Court yesterday.
A source close to Cowell has allegedly since told The Sun that the X Factor boss was “horrified” by the revelations made during Clifford’s three-week sexual assault trial, and has decided to distance himself from the former PR man.
A Syco spokesperson for Cowell, who first hired Clifford in 2001 when he became a judge on Pop Idol, has since confirmed that he is no longer working with the publicist.
However, Clifford’s company website, Max Clifford Associates, are still using a bannered image of Cowell to advertise its services.
“Clifford's unique combination of protection and publicity helped cement [Cowell's] place as one of the world's most successful music/TV moguls in the world,” reads the slogan.
It also prominently features a photograph of Clifford with Olympic cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, who is now listed as a past client.
Yesterday, it was reported that Clifford, who talked up his charitable work during his trial, was no longer the patron of two organisations – Shooting Star Chase children’s hospices and Woking and Sam Beare Hopices. Both hospices have since confirmed the news.
The Only Way Is Essex star Lauren Goodger, one of few still listed among Max Clifford Associates’ ‘Current Clients’ list, has since also removed the mention of the company website from her social media profiles.
Dragon’s Den judge and business mogul Theo Paphitis is yet to make his relationship with Max Clifford Associates clear: his lingerie company, Boux Avenue, has long been represented by the firm. As are the Chinese Three Tenors, model Lilah Parsons and entrepreneur David Fishwick, a self-made multi-millionaire.
Of course, the irony of one of the world’s most renowned spokespeople, who for years was relied upon to cover up the sexual indiscretions of his clients, failing to mask his own is not lost: truly the worst publicity any recognisable figure can afford is to be associated with a convicted sex offender.
"I've been telling lies on behalf of people, businessmen, politicians and countries for 40 years,” he told a wide-eyed audience at a PR Week debate in 2007.
"It shouldn't be necessary, but it is. I'd rather be honest, but I cannot be all the time. The only mantra I work to is that your duty is to your client.
"I lie on behalf of a cross-dressing MP, a prominent businessman who is having an affair with a man, and a gay footballer. Always the aim is to keep their identity out of the press.
"I'm proud I've been able to do it. There's only been one footballer who was revealed to be gay, and he hanged himself. I know the ruin that will befall these people if news gets out. Here, the truth is destructive - I lie because there is no choice."
The odds would certainly suggest we could be set to see more famous faces rushing to disassociate themselves from the man they once trusted to lie for them as his sentence is delivered on Friday.
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