I wonder if I was alone in feeling a sense of déjà vu when I read a few days ago that Scary Spice had ”confessed” to Piers Morgan in a TV interview that she had enjoyed a lesbian romp with Ginger Spice.
Episode two of Flack, the hilariously awful series about a celebrity PR firm currently showing on the digital channel W, has a scarily similar storyline. A female black singer needs a way to boost her flagging career, so the PR firm makes up a story about her having a lesbian relationship with a soap actress. They even make a sex tape, supposedly of the couple in bed, which they leak online. The story is picked up by the red tops, with the resulting media coverage resurrecting the career of the singer. Does that sound familiar?
I’m sure it’s just a coincidence. I’m also sure that it’s purely coincidental that the Spice Girls story broke on the same day that tickets went on sale for their Dublin gigs.
Scary Spice, or Melanie Brown to use her full name, has been a celebrity for more than 20 years now and so presumably has some understanding of how the media works. She must surely therefore have realised the impact that her “confession” to Piers Morgan would have. To claim, as some of the tabloids have, that Mel B made a mistake in revealing the affair seems awfully naive to me.
Incidentally, Piers Morgan seems to be a common factor in quite a few of these high profile PR stunts. Only a couple of months ago Greggs gained massive media coverage of their new vegan sausage rolls by persuading Morgan to condemn them.
Is Morgan really that gullible? Well, it’s worth remembering that he lost his job as editor of the Daily Mirror after publishing faked photos which falsely claimed to show British troops abusing Iraqi prisoners.
Of course there is nothing new in this. Back in 1986 the career of a certain TV comedian was given a second wind thanks to the now infamous Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster headline in The Sun. The story was complete fiction, made up by Max Clifford and eagerly snapped up by Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie.
Why does this continue to happen? Probably because many of us don’t care if a story is true or not, we just want it to be entertaining.