Steve Coogan has bemoaned “pitiful” celebrities who apologise for behaviour that does not live up to the “slightly antiquated morality” of tabloid newspapers.
Promoting new film Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, he told Radio Times that celebrities had no reason to explain themselves in the face of salacious headlines.
“When my life has been the subject of tabloid intrusion, what I have never done is get engaged in justifying myself,” he said. “Celebrities who go round apologising are pitiful, and don’t do themselves any favours. They shouldn’t have to justify themselves on these preconceived, pious, sanctimonious projections of the slightly antiquated morality of these tabloid newspapers.”
Coogan was one of the higher profile celebrities to speak out against the press at the Leveson inquiry.
“I thought the way [the press] behaved – and yes it was towards me, but also towards a lot of other people who didn’t have a voice like me – was just wrong,” Coogan said. “And what makes them feel uncomfortable is when you say something and there’s no ulterior motive; they get pissed off that you might be doing something on a point of principle.
“If someone’s a victim of crime and they’re a forgotten person, like thousands of people who’ve been fucked over by the tabloids, if they got on their moral high horse, no one’s going to listen to them. The double-edged sword of being in the public eye is that you’ll be afforded some sort of platform.”
Addressing the argument that celebrities are fair game given the financial benefits of media exposure, he said he had never made a “Faustian pact with the press”.
“The truth is, this is part of what I have to do to sell the film,” he said. “I’m contractually bound to be here to talk to you. Not that I’m not having a nice time, but [Coogan’s production company] Baby Cow have put money into the film, and I have to support that by getting people to go and see it.
“I don’t talk about my personal life, I don’t go in Hello! magazine to get a free kitchen because I show them my kitchen. I like to be creative, but I’m not interested in being recognised.”
A Labour supporter, Coogan was also scathing of comedians “who put their career before absolutely everything… who don’t have an opinion on anything. Because of postmodernism, they think it’s fashionable to not give a shit about anything.”
(Source: Radio Times)