I don’t want to dwell on it, but I have a couple of extra thoughts on the Max Mosley allegations after reading some more articles on the subject.
Firstly, this one from Planet-F1. The site is not one of my regular visits, but this article caught my attention. And this paragraph in particular is interesting.
So far we have seen no denial from Max Mosley that he likes to spend his time with highly-paid dominatrix, giving out and receiving punishment and acting out bizarre role play. However since the story was revealed in the British Sunday newspaper, the photos of “spanking Max” that adorned the item on the website have disappeared.
The story remains, though, which would seem to indicate that although the photos were an invasion of Max’s privacy – they couldn’t get him to sign a model release form – the facts are not in dispute.
I am not a legal expert by any means, but this seems very interesting to me. If the photographs have been taken down, then Max Mosley’s lawyers have surely been in contact. Also note that the video has been removed from both the News of the World website and YouTube (though, as we all know, you can’t keep these things quiet on the internet these days).
So it looks as though Max Mosley has successfully had the images and video removed from the News of the World website on the grounds of invasion of privacy. But he has not succeeded in removing the actual allegations. Like I say, I could be off the mark on this. But a lot of people are noting that Max Mosley has not yet come out with a denial.
Now all of the websites I singled out in yesterdays post have mentioned the scandal in some form or another. Presumably the editors of the websites each woke up on Monday morning and realised how ridiculous it was that they did not even mention this story that potentially has huge implications for Formula 1.
The excuses some of the websites have come up with are pretty weak. Here is what Grandprix.com had to say for itself:
We would not normally cover such stories, but this one may have a significant effect on the FIA, and the world of motorsport and we feel that it should be noted.
Yeah, about 24 hours after everyone else noted it!
Then there is Pitpass’s excuse:
Pitpass would like to make it clear that it doesn’t do private lives, not unless a story has serious implications on the sport.
Fair enough on the first part of the sentence, but the second part then goes and undermines it. Of course this story has serious implications on the sport, even if the allegations turn out to be false in the end. It is not as if we are talking about a flag marshal being caught kerb-crawling. This is an allegation about the President of Formula 1’s governing body taking part in acts that make light of and fantasise about victims of Nazi death camps.
This is not a mere sex scandal. If it was, I doubt many people would care very much. It is the clear fascist overtones of the allegations that bring this to the public’s attention. You don’t have to be a rabid hater of Max Mosley to realise that this immediately brings the governance of the sport into question. People are rightly asking how someone who fantasises about fascism can be trusted to lead, say, a scheme such as Racing Against Racism.
As I said in the post I wrote yesterday, I do not think that newspapers should sniff around in people’s private lives, even if I don’t like the people in question. I also said that what happens between consenting adults is not the business of anyone else. Furthermore, I pointed out the dubious reputation of the News of the World and the vested interest that News International has in undermining Max Mosley.
But I recognised the potential importance of the story for the future of the governance of Formula 1. I realised that these allegations undermine the authority of Max Mosley unless it can be determined that they are false. I saw that people will question if someone who has Nazi fantasies is fit to be the President of an organisation such as the FIA.
So why couldn’t Pitpass, Autosport, Grandprix.com et al. say that? They just had to say that allegations surround the President of the FIA. They can tiptoe around the finer details if they want. But they cannot ignore it. This is a big Formula 1 news story — there can be no question about that.
My guess is that on Sunday the websites were too scared to upset the powers that be in F1. But you can’t keep these things quiet. The editors of the websites in question woke up on Monday to find that the entire world was talking about the Max Mosley allegations except the major F1 websites. What a patently absurd situation.
And the media wonders why people are increasingly turning to blogs.