Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Divorce In Bad Taste

A very public marital dispute in Mayfair
You knew it would get ugly when photographers snapped noted television cook show host and cookbook author Nigella Lawson being choked by her husband.  Within days of the incident, Ms. Lawson moved out and Charles Saatchi declared he was making an end of the marriage.

Follwing the airing of those antics, the upcoming divorce proceeding cannot be done quietly, discretely or tastefully.

Mr. Saatchi looked very bad indeed, with his big hand around the throat of a distraught woman, and that sort of negative image is not easily erased. His name besmirched, he has thrown a counter punch to tarnish his ex-wife's image. If he manages to destroy her cooking career, all the better. This is war.

According to Mr. Saatchi, the woman is off her head on drugs, with a fierce cocaine habit. It's a miracle that the inside of her nose exists at all, so heavy a user is she. Ten years of snorting, and managing to disguise it while doing her job.

The accusation of drug use was revealed as a related lawsuit is beginning, a case which has been suggested as the reason behind the choking episode. Mr. Saatchi claims that sisters Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, working as personal assistants to Ms. Lawson, used Mr. Saatchi's business credit card for a lavish spending spree that included bundles of designer goods and air fare to New York City. Post-choking, the women were given the sack and Mr. Saatchi filed charges.

We are to assume, apparently, that he choked his wife in anger because she would not discipline her trusted assistants when the evidence of their fraud was so obvious to Mr. Saatchi.

So not only did she not listen to him, the voice of reason, but then she drew him into an unflattering position over his attempt to straighten out a financial mess. Perhaps he held her by the throat because she refused his demand that she testify against her beloved employees. We shall all have to wait for the divorce trial to find out how he rationalizes the rather violent attack in Mayfair that was splashed all over the tabloids.

The judge hearing the fraud case allowed the drug abuse accusation to be heard. Mr. Saatchi is concerned that his case will be lost because the Grillo sisters will claim that they are innocent and it's all on Ms. Lawson who was high and spending without knowing what she was about. Or Ms. Lawson was paying them off, using a business credit card, to keep quiet about her drug use.

The sisters could just as easily accuse Ms. Lawson of shopping under the influence of Ambien, I suppose, and clear themselves that way, but too many jokes have been made about people doing strange things after taking Ambien and that's not going to tarnish Ms. Lawson's image in the least. She'd be that much more sympathetic, and anyone getting a divorce knows that the other party has to be made out to be a demon.

The divorce is just beginning. Like the throttling, it will play out in public, the very definition of a display in bad taste.

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