The Body arms herself for PR fightback
Macpherson appoints agency to defend her against claims of a deal with Murdoch over hacking
Sunday 30 October 2011
The Australian model Elle Macpherson has engaged the services of a top PR firm in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal. She is seeking to minimise unfavourable press criticism, notably in Australia, over her dealings with Rupert Murdoch.
In 2006 a court found that her phone had been hacked by the News of the World, but unlike the four other proven victims, excluding the royal princes (Max Clifford, Sky Andrew, Gordon Taylor and Simon Hughes), she has taken no legal action.
Critics have long suspected that she came to an out-of-court settlement with the paper and point out that in five years since the scandal, there were around 30 mentions of Macpherson (dubbed The Body) within it, of which all were either neutral or favourable. But her lawyer, Alex-ander Carter-Silk, has always claimed she neither sought nor was offered any sort of compensation.
It is a denial endorsed by the PR company, Project Associates, whose spokesman told The Independent on Sunday yesterday: "It is categorically untrue that she or anyone associated with her did any sort of deal with News International."
Another indirect victim of the phone hacking episode was Mary-Ellen Field, the model's former branding adviser, who Macpherson sacked, suspecting her of leaking stories to the press. Ms Field always denied this, and says she assumed when evidence of the hacking of Macpherson's phone emerged that Macpherson would exonerate her. Yet Macpherson has always refused to do so, and will not answer questions on the matter.
The result has been a storm of unfavourable publicity in much of the non-Murdoch-owned media in Australia. Macpherson's unwillingness to answer questions about phone hacking and the sacking of Ms Field have been laughingly contrasted with her insistence on talking about her favourite beauty products and "the lessons she's learned from suncare".
"Far more entertaining," wrote one journalist of one of her recent appearances endorsing a brand of sunscreen, "was listening to the photographers bitching about The Body yesterday, referring to the job as 'A Nightmare on Elle Street'."
Project Associates, which specialises in reputation "protection, management and enhancement", has strong links with the Murdoch organisation: the former Sun editor Stuart Higgins is a non-executive director.
The model also remains on good terms with Murdoch's companies. She hosts Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model on the part-Murdoch-owned network BSkyB, and her new US show Fashion Star is the creation of producer Ben Silverman, a close associate of the Murdochs whose company has a deal with the Murdoch empire to distribute his programmes.
Ms Field, whose case will be explored by the Leveson phone-hacking inquiry, insists she bears no ill will to Macpherson. "If she rang me up tomorrow I'd be pleased to talk to her," she said. "I just want to know what happened. What is undeniable in this is that she is a victim as well as me."
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- 5 Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...
£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...