Max Mosley’s “unfortunate interest”

July 8, 2008

Max MosleyFIA motorsport head Max Mosley is suing the News of the World in the wake of its revelations that he held sado-masochistic spanking sessions with prostitutes.

He is not alleging libel but breach of privacy, saying that although he had practised what he called his “unfortunate interest” for some 45 years, it was his business and his alone and had no bearing on his professional position.

He is asking for exemplary damages — which are meant not to compensate the claimant but to punish the offender.

One of the planks of the News of the World’s defence is that his high-profile job meant he had a responsibility to behave himself and that exposing him was in the public interest.

The Independent says the case is the “frontline in a legal battle for freedom of expression.”

What’s your view?


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I think if my spouse were spending £35,000 just on accommodating prostitutes, and had kept it secret for 45 years, then I’d quite like to know about it.

Posted by Ian Kemmish | Report as abusive

It wasn’t in the public interest however distasteful it might be – it smacks of an attempt to get even over ‘perceived’ treatment of McLaren last year.

If the guy is doing his job well then leave him be. I find this symptomatic of the gutter press that we now seem to have. A press (including TV) that has made violence, bad language and anti-social behaviour seem to many to be the acceptable norm for this country.

Given the current social and economic woes which, I grant, are not all unique to the UK I cannot wait for retirement and the opportunity to get out of this over regulated and snooping society.

Posted by Richard | Report as abusive

Hands up anyone who would like intimate details of their own sexual performances splashed over the front pages of newspapers… Whatever one may think about this particular conduct – and everyone is entitled to their own personal opinion – it was not illegal, it took place in private and consequently it’s none of our business. I hope Mosley takes them to the cleaners.

Posted by Matthew | Report as abusive

He was set up by people with an unlimited budget to spend on “getting him”. We should not allow them to get away with bringing down an effective President for the sake of his private life, however distasteful. I’m sorry for his wife and family but that is his burden and, since he’s been running this other side to his life for 45 years and still done a good job at the FIA, who are we to cast the first stone? The N of the World as morality judge? Don’t make me laugh!

Posted by george | Report as abusive

I would agree with Mr Mosley’s position,that this was an entirely private event between consenting adults and, for the News of The world to claim it was in the public interest, is total nonsense. For years, this disgusting excuse for a newspaper, has published lurid details of people’s lives, with particular emphasis on the sexual aspects, for the sole purpose of selling newspapers. I strongly suspect that this was a setup to discredit Mr Mosley by a person, or persons, as yet unknown. I have been a follower of Formula One for many years,and despite the veneer of sophistication that the principle players like to portray, they have the moral integrity of used car/real estate salesman. I think we should all wait until the report is completed by the private investigation company that Mr Mosley has appointed to get to the truth. When we have that information, we will be able to see the whole picture, then we can judge this event for what it really is.

Posted by Colin | Report as abusive

He’s a public figure, the public need to know about this kind of stuff, he should of resigned

dirty old man!

Posted by mark | Report as abusive

Mosley is the head of an international organisation and has regular dealings with heads of government. He is the ambassador for Formula 1 and is expected to behave in a manner that befits his position. He adopts the high moral ground when it suits him (as in the Maclaren spy saga last year) but expects to be judged by different standards. The man is arrogant beyond belief and clearly believes he is above criticism and reproach. I hope this misguided attempt to restart his career fails miserably.

Posted by Graham | Report as abusive

What is wrong with wanting a spanking now and then? Everything was done in private, with private money, and consenting adults – Molsey’s private life and kinks are just that, private. And they should have stayed private. Though it might have been helpful if he had told his spouse about it, but again that is a private matter. Now if he were holding public office and was using tax payer’s money, and not his own money, it might be different. But than again, the exposure would have to deal with the abuse of money and the abuse of his own rump. Let’s hope privacy wins over the kind of abuse randomly afflicted by the News of the World.

Posted by Pieter | Report as abusive

Seems to me the woman who filmed this should be in jail. Also she should be banned from all future sex work.

Posted by Terrell | Report as abusive

What I think is unfortunate is that Max Mosley felt he needed to use the words “unfortunate interest” to discuss his sexual desires. I’m sure that he doesn’t really feel that way deep down and he only used those words in his public statement because of the public guilt forced upon him.

We all have our own sexual desires that are, thankfully, unique to each one of us. Some people liked be covered in chocolate sauce, others choose to be caned and beaten by beautiful women. As long as your sexual relations are committed between two (or more) consentual adults then who is anyone to judge? Or perhaps you’d like the government to keep tabs on how much Hersey’s syrup you purchase each month?

And to the person who stated that “he’s a public figure…the public need to know about this kind of stuff” i ask you, why does the public need to know? And then my next question would be, where exactly do you draw that line? “you there in the bedroom? We know that you were engaging in sexual relations that were not confined to the missionary position with the lights off. Come out with your hands up!”. Last time I checked it said “2008” on the calendar, not 1808.

Posted by Mike from Canada | Report as abusive

Since time immemorial some people have indulged fantasies, some have acted out what others wish they could.

There were no children involved, no one wound up buried at the bottom of a garden or in pieces in a barrel. It was consensual on both parts. The spankees were financially compensated, it didn’t interfere with the performance of the gentleman’s duties in the world of racing.

Hmmmmm, the Canadian government becomes aware that a teenage Canadian citizen was being tortured at Guantanamo Bay in 2004, yet here it is 2008, that information has just come out and people shrug. Heads of Canadian state are complicit in the torture of a teenage boy and it is no big deal, yet someone in the racing world spanks a consenting adult and people go round the twist.

Get your priorities straight people!

Posted by Lady Shoshin | Report as abusive

It was probably more of a political power struggle given that Max Mosely is the son (or grandson/not sure on that) of notorious World War Two Nazi, Sir Oswald Mosely who led a gang of nazi/fascist thugs through London to try and attack the Jewish neighborhoods of Dalston, during which time East Londoners of all religions and the Cockney persuasion stood firmly in their path and said “You shall not pass.” The S&M sessions were conducted in a dungeon wherein the girls were required to wear Nazi death camp uniforms. Wikipedia and other websites have more details. Formula One Racing doesn’t require that kind of advertizing.

Posted by thunar | Report as abusive

I hope he wins every cent he’s suing for. If I were on the jury I would double the amount against the “news” org.

It is unfortunate but we are all losing our privacy on many fronts.

Posted by Sheri | Report as abusive

If it was between two consenting adults then it was nobodies business but theirs and the press should keep thier big nose out of it. He should take them for as much as he can; since since this type of dirt digging sensationalism isn’t news but, the lowest form gutter stalking which frequently verges on libel, and is only dressed up by the frequently indecently invasive photos provided by their so-called photographers who are nothing more than paparazzi.

Posted by gillshalos | Report as abusive