Leading article: The real issue behind this public pillorying

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The Independent Online

All that said, however, the way in which she has been pilloried - there is no other word for it - in recent days is hypocrisy of the first order. One by one the household names that had contracted her to be their "face" have cut her adrift with varying expressions of disappointment. H&M led off the procession; then came Chanel and Burberry - saying it was "saddened" - and yesterday the cosmetics company Rimmel.

Finally, Ms Moss issued an apology. In 100 elegant words or so, which did not mention drugs, she said that she accepted she had "various personal issues" to address and had started "taking the difficult, yet necessary, steps to resolve them". She was apologising to all those she had "let down".

But this is hardly the point. The point is that all the companies which had been so eager to sign her up moved to sever their ties only when incriminating pictures appeared in a national newspaper. Before that, apparently, they either believed that her drug-taking was irrelevant to her work for them or they deliberately turned a blind eye. They can hardly say they did not know. Ditto the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Ian Blair - except that he joined the chase even later. Once the pictures had unleashed the predictable furore, Sir Ian announced that the Met was starting an investigation. What promptness! What principled concern for the law!

Like it or not, many people in the public eye use banned drugs and are known to do so. If Sir Ian wants to see the law on class A drugs enforced, he needs to have his officers out there enforcing it, not waiting for the press to supply him with evidence. And the companies that employ models with a habit could do worse than fund their rehabilitation as a part of their contract. Then no one need be "saddened" or "disappointed". Everyone would be addressing the "issue".

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