The real scandal isn't Brooks Newmark sending nude pictures, but the Sunday Mirror exploiting a young woman

In the course of trying to humiliate a politician, a Swedish model has been used as bait

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The Independent Online

I’m sure the undercover journalist that managed to snare Brooks Newmark into sending a rude picture is basking in his post-sting glory. What a triumph it is to make a middle-aged Tory believe that a young blonde woman would ever be interested in him, and so much so that he’d risk his integrity by sending an explicit photo. And the icing on the cake that was a job well done is that Newmark has resigned from his ministerial role – pats on the back all round.

But there is one crucial player in this game who has been exploited, without even being aware that she was involved.

The problem with being a middle-aged male journalist trying to get a Tory MP to get frisky via phone messaging is that you are not, in fact, a “twentysomething Tory PR girl” called Sophie Wittams, and you have none of the appealing assets that may tempt a politician to reach for his camera phone.

So, what should you do? Hire a model, who agrees that you can use her image to trap a man into sharing saucy correspondence? Not if you’re this undercover journalist.

This undercover journalist decided that it was totally above board to search through the internet and take pictures of an unwitting participant to use to snare Newmark.

The girl in question is Malin Sahlén, a 22 year-old model from Sweden who has never met the reporter from the Sunday Mirror, nor the disgraced Brooks Newmark. She is simply a young woman, who like many of her generation, likes to indulge in some harmless vanity and share the odd selfie on her Instagram. Except, unlike many of her generation, Malin’s snaps were used to help destroy a man's career, without her permission.

In the course of trying to bring down and humiliate a politician, a young woman has been exploited. Using a woman’s image without her knowledge shows a complete lack of respect for her, and her privacy.


The model has spoken out against what’s happened, telling Swedish news publication Aftonbladet: “I do not want to be exploited in this way and someone has used my image like this feels really awful, both for me and the others involved in this.”

As far as I’m concerned, what Brooks Newmark does in the privacy of his paisley pyjamas is between him and his wife. Should he have resigned from his post for betraying his wife’s trust? I don’t think so, but that’s an issue for his personal life.

What's not up for debate in this whole affair is whether using a woman’s photographs, whether they are in the public domain or not, to publicly humiliate a man without her consent is acceptable. To be absolutely clear - it's not. Women and their bodies are not disposable objects to be used for political bartering.

The real scandal here is not that a 56 year-old man sent some naked selfies to someone other than his wife, but that the Mirror made an oblivious young woman part of their political propaganda.