Max Clifford has admitted that only 20 per cent of the stories he has broken during his career as a celebrity PR guru would have been allowed if newspapers were forced to justify personal stories on the grounds of public interest.
Talking on BBC Radio 4’s The Media Show, Clifford said: “I’ve got to be honest and say I’ve probably broken more stories than anyone in Britain in the last 25 or 30 years, although I’ve stopped a lot more than I’ve broken. But probably only about 20 per cent of the stories I’ve broken you could justify on the grounds of public interest, a real public interest, that’s all.”
Asked by presenter Steve Hewlett if legal proceedings such as the superinjunction were killing the kiss-and-tell story, Clifford said: “Certainly at the moment it is. But I think obviously the answer I’m hoping will come about will be a halfway house whereby you [newspapers] know you have to justify public interest in order to print a story.
“So, in other words, if someone is having an affair with a cabinet minister… and all kinds of secrets have been passed on to that person which shouldn’t be passed on, then of course it’s a matter of public interest. But if it’s a straightforward ‘footballer is doing this’ then I think there is no public interest in this at all, other than circulation.”
Clifford has built his reputation from protecting and guiding people caught up in celebrity kiss-and-tell stories though the media minefield. His most recent client has been former Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas, who is unable to reveal the name of the Premier League footballer she had an affair with because of a superinjunction.
Click here to listen to the interview via iPlayer. It starts around the 3:20 mark.