I was going to leave this topic well enough alone but with the ever increasing discussion re the Lara Bingle nude photo affair exploding, I wanted to share my thoughts on the whole saga.
For my overseas readers let me give you a little background.
Lara Bingle, 22, is an extraordinarily beautiful Australian model who you may have seen spruiking Australia a few years ago in the “Where the bloody hell are you?” TV commercials. Lara is the good looking sort at the end of the commercial asking where the bloody hell are you.
See what I mean by how beautiful she is? There is no denying that. Anyway, a week or so ago, a nude photo of Lara was published in one of Australia’s womens magazines, heavily pixelated of course. The photo was allegedly taken by her former boyfriend, AFL bad boy, Brendan Fevola. In the photo, Lara is trying desperately to cover herself up while in the shower as she sees the camera peek in and the snap is taken. It is a very unflattering photo which does show her bare breasts. I have seen the actual, non pixelated photo but I won’t be showing it here for obvious reasons. You can tell the photo was not taken with her consent and while a poor judgement call by the photographer, he should have deleted it and learnt his lesson. Lara would have explained to him that as an emerging model that this sort of photo would diminish her career opportunities, blah, blah, blah. It should have been the end of the story.
Apparantly this photo has been doing the rounds over the past few years, being passed from mobile phone to mobile phone especially amongst the countries high profile sports stars. Somehow, the Woman’s Day magazine has gotten hold of it and ran it in their March 1, 2010 edition. Ms Bingle had assumed that the photograph had been deleted and was not aware of its existence until it appeared in the magazine. She has then launched legal action and is suing Mr Fevola for a multitude of reasons. She states that it was an invasion of privacy.
All fair enough. But I think this is where the trouble really starts.
By commencing legal action, it has brought what would have been a minor article in the magazine into the spotlight and in a very big way. It has dominated news headlines on TV, Radio, Online and in print. All of a sudden, just about every bloke in Australia has wanted to see the uncensored version, which with a few key strokes or a few well connected mates has been promptly delivered to their mobile phone. Now everyone has seen it and like I said, it is not a very flattering photo. It has caused unbelievable stress to Ms Bingle and also forced her fiancé, the Australian Cricket Vice-Captain home from New Zealand, mid tour to help her through this very rough time. So now there is even more press as it is very rare that a player will leave a tour in the middle of a series for personal reasons and the media is eating it up.
What it is has also done is resurface some professional nude shots Ms Bingle did for GQ Magazine in Germanya few years ago and I have to tell you, she looks stunning. So I don’t think that the problem is that there is a topless photo of Ms Bingle zinging between mobile phones right across the country, I think the main problem is that the photo doing the zinging, is very unflattering. A photo which wouldn’t have got as much publicity if she hadn’t have sued a very prominent AFL player which the Aussie media love to engage with due to him being a walking headline.
Has Ms Bingles rights been violated? Of course. Would she be embarrassed by this? Surely. Should she sue Mr Fevola? That is the $64,000 question. My opinion is no. Let the court of public awareness tri and possibly convict Mr Fevola. His poor judgement decisions over the years has cost him both financially and his reputation has been destroyed and if he is the one who took this photo and if he is the one who distributed it, there should be no sympathy for him. My opinion is that it probably would have died off after a day or two if she hadn’t have sued but now that she has, it is big news and all agencies are running with it. In the follow up edition of The Womans Day, Ms Bingle again features heavily and tries to explain her side of the story which is just adding fuel to what is already an out of control wild fire which is sure to keep this story burning brightly for weeks and months to come.
The reality though is this. Ms Bingle and her celebrity agent, Max Markson would have had a long, hard discussion about the ramifications of going to court and the extra media attention it would cause. Mr Markson is a shrewd agent and knows his craft very well so I am sure that Ms Bingle would have known what was coming and if this is the case, then she had every right to sue, but she also has to accept the media attention that is pounding down on her and her family and friends in a big way. At the end of the day, I hope she feels it is worth it because I honestly can’t see a winner in this sordid tale except for the lawyers representing all parties.
So what do you think? Is Ms Bingle doing the right thing by suing? Do you think the story would have died down almost immediately if she didn’t sue? Should she have announced she was suing in the media rather than doing it quietly? I look forward to your comments.