Nazi Orgy Lawsuit May Kill UK Gossip Industry

UK privacy laws continue to get stricter and stricter, and it's all thanks to Nazis. Or in this case, high-profile sons of prominent Nazi-sympathizers who may or may not get some sort of sexual satisfaction out of Nazi roleplay. Max Mosley is in charge of Formula One racing and some other gay European motorsports. He is the son of Oswald Mosley, the "Mr. Oswald with the Swastika tattoo" from that one Elvis Costello song. Oswald was a famous British fascist who hung out with Hitler all the time. Max claims he isn't a Nazi though he's now forced to admit in court that he loves sado-masochism. He's forced to admit this because of a lawsuit he brought which threatens the very industry of celebrity gossip in the UK.

Last March, Rupert Murdoch's News of the World reported that Mosley had a Nazi-themed bondage party with five prostitutes (actually dominatrices!). They have a tape, it's kind of inescapable. Mosley sued them for breach of privacy anyway. And he is probably going to win!

Britain is so open to libel suits that Mosley's case looks good even though the basic facts of the News of the World story are all true, and yes, there is a tape. But Mosley argues that sado-masocism is totally normal and harmless (no argument here), and furthermore that his party was not Nazi-themed. This is where he kinda loses us, as the tape features the women explaining that they're beating him because they are "the Aryan race" and there are some very Nazi-looking uniforms and also a lot of German is spoken. Also Mosley conveniently deleted a couple emails he sent to "participants in the session."

But he got himself a great judge:

The judge, the paper said, was "almost single-handedly creating a new privacy law" with a series of landmark judgments against newspapers in libel and invasion-of-privacy cases.

The Times cited a 2006 case in which the judge granted a "gagging order" to a famous British sportsman, unnamed in the order, who had had an affair with a married woman, to prevent the woman's husband from going to the papers and exposing the sportsman as a philanderer.

So the expansion of the right of complete privacy to people who are outright no-foolin celebrities does basically mean the crippling of the celebutainment industry in Britain.

The Times story is written by John Burns, by the way. You may remember John Burns as one of the reporters whose extramarital affair was part of a wrongful dismissal suit filed against the New York Times a while back, which was reported on in the New York Observer and elsewhere. Though Burns probably hopes you don't remember this. (He should move to London!)

(The story also features the most helpful Times photo caption ever: "Max Mosley, in a video on a Web site.")