Hit & Run: Seagal under siege

Sunday 23 October 2011 02:56
Steven Seagal is facing sexual harassment claims
Steven Seagal is facing sexual harassment claims

Steven Seagal has discovered that not even he – actor, writer, philanthropist, aikido black-belt, blues musician, buddhist and reserve deputy sheriff of Jefferson Parish in the state of Louisiana – is above the law. You might indeed, were you so inclined, describe him as being under siege, too. This week his former personal assistant, 23-year-old Kayden Nyugen, claimed she was sexually assaulted by Seagal three times while working for him in New Orleans, and that he retained two young Russian attendants as sex slaves. Nyugen, one could say, is out for justice – oh, and $1m in compensation. Seagal's lawyer says the allegations are "ridiculous and absurd".

The story of Seagal's rise and fall, and rise and fall again, is a long and occasionally even an interesting one. He began his professional life as an aikido expert, running a dojo in Hollywood. This led to work as a stunt co-ordinator, notably on the Bond movie Never Say Never Again (1983). Unfortunately, Seagal was then allowed to venture in front of the camera, and since his debut in 1988 has starred in around 40 action films. Luckily, in the last 10 years his movies have all gone straight to video, though he did inspire a book of Seagal-based essays, Seagalogy, by the film blogger "Vern" – which is arguably his greatest contribution to the culture (though Vern himself would dispute that).

While a return to the silver screen might now be out of reach (he doesn't even have a role in The Expendables) Seagal's singing career has taken off in the 2000s. His first album, Songs From the Crystal Cave, was released in 2005, and allegedly contains a mix of blues and "world" music. His second LP with his band Thunderbox (not to be confused with the popular brand of mobile compost toilets), Mojo Priest, came a year later. Most important to Seagal, naturally, are his charitable works tackling AIDS, animal rights and environmental charities, and with the needy children who reportedly know him as "Uncle Stevie". "First and foremost," his personal website insists, "[Seagal] is a human being with a deep devotion for his fellow man and the environment around us... His deep love and care for others is exemplified in his commitment to do his part to make this a better world."

Sadly, after stumbling onto a purple patch in his long and varied career, with the preposterously successful A&E TV show, Steven Seagal: Lawman – which follows his work with the Jefferson sheriff's office – it appears Seagal has found himself once again on deadly ground.

Tim Walker

Does Sam Cam's 'it' shoe have sole?

Jackie O's sunglasses, Thatcher's pussy-bow blouses – what fashion froth will Sam Cam be remembered for? How to condense her liberal nu-horsey appeal into one essential element that screams, "One is married to that posh chap what cares about people innit"?

With a simple ballet shoe, of course – beloved of Brigitte Bardot and Grace Kelly, the sleek soulier has long been associated with classic chic and tidy-haired sirens. So it stands to reason that the latest offering from the fashion set's favourite French sole is named Samantha (£92), after the first lady of – well, of nothing yet. And it speaks volumes about its namesake: refined, elegant, expensive, a little staid. The sort of thing you feel guilty about admiring.

Made from luxurious blue velvet (topical), it also has a silver trim. We can only hope this is a reference to coming in second place. Now, where are my mustard-yellow brogues?

Harriet Walker

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