Irish Daily Star Prints Kate Middleton Topless Photos; Owner ‘Dismayed’

The scandal is far from over! It all started Friday when French magazine Closure published photos of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless at a private house in Provence, and things got infinitely worse yesterday when the Irish Daily Star ran the photos, Italian rag Chi announced plans to do the same, and the Palace took legal action. Now things have gotten even messier, as one of the Daily Star‘s controllers is saying the decision to print the photos was made without his knowledge and that he will pull the plug on the magazine because of it.

Media baron Richard Desmond is the chairman of Northern & Shell, one of the companies that owns the Daily Star, and he plans to completely end his company’s support of the paper because of his personal values. A source close to him told Daily Mail the following:

“When he found out what had been printed he was absolutely astonished. Immediate steps were taken to establish  who had made the decision, which all the company absolutely disagrees with. Northern & Shell will now seek to have no further involvement with the joint venture that produces the newspaper. … The decision to terminate the contract stems from a  personal belief about what is right and wrong, it’s that simple.”

It is unclear exactly what would happen to the paper should Desmond decide to cut Northern & Shell’s ties with it. So far, Independent News & Media, the paper’s other backer, has not said whether it will end its involvement, and insiders speculate that it will continue its support of the publication. This statement was made on Desmond’s behalf:

“We abhor the decision of the Irish Daily Star to publish these intrusive pictures, which we believe to  be a grotesque invasion of their privacy. Northern & Shell is profoundly dismayed at the decision, which would never have been made by any of the newspapers or magazines under our editorial control.”

We absolutely agree that what the Daily Star did was wrong, and we’re glad someone is standing up for what’s right. The edition of Chi set to contain the semi-nudes in a 26-page spread (which is tastelessly and inaccurately headlined “The Queen Is Nude”) will hit newsstands tomorrow.

UPDATE: According to Reuters, Independent News & Media Chief Executive Joe Webb issued an apology for the photos in the Sunday Independent, saying “We are launching an internal inquiry to ensure there will never be a repeat of this breach of decency.” He hopes to prevent the closure of the Daily Star.

[Daily Mail]

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