Excerpt from "So You've Been Publicly Shamed"
by Jon Ronson
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Seven: Journey to a Shame-Free Paradise
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F1 BOSS MAX MOSLEY HAS SICK NAZI ORGY WITH 5 HOOKERS EXCLUSIVE: SON OF FASCIST HITLER LOVER IN SEX SHAME
Formula One motor racing chief Max Mosley is today exposed as a secret sadomasochist sex pervert. The son of infamous British wartime fascist leader Oswald Mosley
is filmed romping with five hookers at a depraved NAZI-STYLE orgy in a torture dungeon.
Before hammering away at the girls he plays a cowering death camp inmate himself, having his GENITALS inspected and his hair searched for LICE-mocking the humiliating way Jews were treated by 5S death camp guards in World War II ...
At one point the wrinkled 67-year-old yells "she needs more of ze punishment!" while brandishing a LEATHER STRAP over a brunette's naked bottom. Then the lashes rain down as Mosley counts them out in German: "Eins! Zwei! Drei! Vier! Fiinfl Sechs!"
With each blow, the girl yelps in pain as grinning, gray-haired Mosley becomes clearly aroused. And after the beating, he makes her perform a sex act on him.
His Jew-hating father-who had Hitler as guest of honor at his marriage-would have been proud of his warped son's command of German as he struts around looking for bottoms to whack. Our investigators obtained a graphic video of his sick antics.
-- NEVILLE THURLBECK, News of the World, MARCH 30, 2008
Max Mosley sat across from me in the living room of his West London mews house. We were alone. His wife, Jean, was at their other house, where she now spends most of her time. As Max told the Financial Times's Lucy Kellaway in 2011, "She doesn't like going out, she doesn't want to meet people."
Nobody I could think of had ridden out a public shaming as immaculately as Max Mosley had. A powerful and hitherto not especially well-liked society man and the head of the FIA, Formula One racing's governing body, had been photographed by the News of the World's hidden cameras in the most startling sex situation imaginable, especially given his particular Nazi associations, and he had somehow managed to emerge from the scandal completely intact. In fact, it was even better than intact. People liked him more than ever. Some people thought of him as a standard-bearer for our right to feel unashamed. That's how I thought of him. And now Max was every shamee's aspiration. I wanted him to talk me through how he did it.
But he looked embarrassed by my question. ''I'm no good at introspection," he said.
"But you must have some clue," I said. "You stood at the newsstand that Sunday morning reading the News of the World article ... "
"It was immediate," Max said. "It was a whoosh. It was, 'This is war.'" Then he trailed off and gave me a look to say, I'm sorry, but I really don't do introspection.
I think he was as curious about the mystery as I was. But he didn't know the answer.
"You had a strange childhood ..." I tried.
"I suppose my upbringing toughened me up a bit," he said. "From a very early age, I realized that my parents weren't like other people's parents ..."
Until that "Sick Nazi Orgy" headline, the thing Max Mosley was most famous for-unless you were a Formula One racing fan-was his parents. Max's father was Sir Oswald Mosley, the founder in 1932 of the British Union of Fascists. He gave Nuremberg-style speeches in London during which hecklers were illuminated by spotlights and viciously beaten in front of the crowd. Oswald Mosley stood onstage and watched. Max's mother was the beautiful socialite Diana Mitford. She and her sister Unity were so besotted by Hitler-with whom they both became friendly-they'd send each other letters like this one, from Unity to Diana:
23rd December 1935
The Fuhrer was heavenly, in his best mood and very gay. There was a choice of two soups and he tossed a coin to see which one he would have, and he was so sweet doing it. He asked after you and I told him you were coming soon. He talked a lot about Jews, which was lovely.
With best love and Heil Hitler, Bobo.
attended Oswald Mosley and Diana Mitford's wedding, which took place at Joseph Goebbels's house in 1936. Max was born in 1940, and when he was a few months old, his parents were interred for the duration of the war at Holloway Prison in North London. Those were his first memories-visiting his imprisoned parents, "which doesn't strike you as unusual when you're three, but as you get older, you realize they're disliked by a big section of society. Still, they were my parents, so I was completely on their side. When someone argued with me about my father. it was easy for me to win because I knew all the facts."
"What did people say about your father that wasn't true?" I asked.
"Oh, you know, 'He was a friend of Hitler.' Well, without going into whether that was a good or a bad thing, I knew he only met Hitler twice and he actually didn't like him. My mother was a friend, undoubtedly, and her sister, but not my father."
"Why didn't your father like Hitler?" I asked.
"I think he thought he was ... " Max screwed up his face.
"A bit blah?" I said.
"Something of a poseur," agreed Max. "To that sort of Englishman. But then again, he quite got on with Mussolini, of whom the same could have been said. I suspect he saw Hitler as this other man who was in the same line of business as him but much more successful. And my mother liked him. I don't think there was any affair but ... well, you can see it. Anyway. To me the whole thing has been an enormous nuisance and encumbrance."
Max drifted into the motor-racing world. Nobody cared about his father there. As he told Autosport magazine in 2000, he knew he was where he belonged when he overheard someone say, "Mosley. He must be some relation of Alf Moseley, the coachbuilder." Max was in his mid-twenties when he started in the racing world, and he had just begun going to S&M clubs.
"Are S&M clubs comfortable places to be?" I asked him. "Are they relaxing?"
"Well, yes," Max said. From his look, I guessed he considered them places of integrity-nonexploitative, shame-free retreats from a world that overvalues shame as a weapon.
"Were you worried about getting caught?" I asked.
"I was careful," he said. "Especially when I began seriously annoying a big section of the car industry." What Max meant was that by the early 1990s he had become a campaigner to reform car-safety laws, forcing manufacturers to carry out crash tests. "And when you think of what they did to Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader. In 1961 a young man named Frederick Condon crashed his car.
Back then, sharp edges and no seat belts were considered stylish in car interiors. But the sharp edges turned Frederick Condon into a paraplegic. And so a friend of his-the lawyer Ralph Nader-began lobbying for mandatory seat-belt laws. Which was why General Motors hired prostitutes to follow Nader into stores-a Safeway supermarket and a pharmacy-to seduce and then blackmail him.
"It happened twice," Nader told me, when I telephoned him. "They were women in their mid-to-late twenties. They were pretty good. They both acted in a very spontaneous manner, not a furtive manner.
They started a little small talk.
Then they got down to it."
"What did they say to you?" I asked him.
"The first woman said, 'Would you help me move some furniture in my apartment?' And the other one said, 'We're having a discussion on foreign affairs. Would you like to join it?' Here I was, at the cookie counter!" Nader laughed. "'Foreign affairs'!" he said.
"And all because you wanted them to put seat belts in cars?" I said.
"They didn't want the government to tell them how to build their cars," he replied. "They were very libertarian that way, to put it mildly. They had private detectives follow me everywhere. They spent ten thousand dollars just to find out if I had a driver's license. If I didn't have a driver's license, they could have called me un-American, you see?"
Eventually, General Motors was forced to admit the plot and apologize to Nader in a congressional hearing. The incident proved to him, and later to Max, that the car industry was not above trying to shame its opponents into silence in its battle against safety do-gooders, and that people in high places were prepared to ingeniously deploy shaming as a means of moneymaking and social control. Maybe we only notice it happening when it's done too audaciously or poorly, as it had been with Ralph Nader.
One Sunday morning in the spring of 2008, a PR man telephoned Max to ask him if he'd seen the News of the World. "He said, 'There's a big story about you.' So I went to the newsstand."
And as Max stared at the grainy photographs that millions of Britons were simultaneously staring at-a naked Max being bent over and spanked by women in German uniform-a line from Othello came into his head: "I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself and what remains is bestial."
All he'd worked for had been pushed away by a thing he had always considered a tiny part of his life. He took the newspaper home and showed it to his wife. She thought he'd had it specially printed as a joke. And then she realized that it wasn't a joke.
Max's behavior from that moment on was the opposite of Jonah's. He gave an interview to BBC Radio 4 in which he said that, yes, his sex life was strange, but when it comes to sex, people think and say and do strange things, and only an idiot would think the worse of him for it. If our shame-worthiness lies in the space between who we are and how we present ourselves to the world, Max was narrowing that gap to nothing. Whereas Jonah's gap was as wide as the Grand Canyon.
And Max had an ace up his sleeve. The News of the World had made a fatal mistake. The orgy was definitely German-tinged. But it was not Nazi-themed.
And so Max sued.
JAMES PRICE QC [Max Mosley's barrister]: I'm going to ask you to go through [the photographs] quite carefully with me, if you would. On page 291, nothing Nazi there?
COLIN MYLER [News of the World editor]: No.
PRICE: Page 292, that's Mr. Mosley having a cup of tea, nothing Nazi there?
PRICE: That is the SS style inspection sheet?
PRICE: You can quite clearly see from the photograph that it is a plastic spiral-bound notebook. I suggest to you that it is inconceivable that anybody could possibly honestly describe that as a SS style inspection sheet.
MYLER: I disagree.
PRICE: What do you know about medical examinations by the SS?
MYLER: I'm not a historian of them.
PRICE: Would it be fair to say you know nothing about SS medical inspections?
MYLER: Not in great detail, no.
PRICE: Anything at all?
MYLER: Not in great detail, no.
When Colin Myler and the paper's investigative journalist, Neville Thurlbeck, were asked in court to specify exactly where Max was mocking Jewish concentration-camp victims, they pointed to the photographs of the women guards shaving a naked Max and pointed out that Jews were shaved at concentration camps. But, as James Price QC indicated, they were shaving Max's bottom. That wasn't resonant of concentration camps at all. Furthermore, as Max explained during his evidence, if they'd wanted to look like Nazis, "it would have been easy to obtain Nazi uniforms online or from a costumier." Yes, there were uniforms, but they were generically German military.
The News of the World's case crumbled further when an e-mail exchange between two of the women guards was read out in court.
Hi ladies. Just to confirm the scenario on Friday at Chelsea starting at 3. If you're around before then, I'm doing a judicial on him at noon so if you'd like to witness that, be here for 11 am but don't stress if you can't make that.
Can't wait it'll be great ... My bottom is so clear for a change. Lots of love.
A "judicial"? A Nazi scenario might have been called a "Volksgerichtshof trial" or maybe a Gerichtsverfahren. But a judicial? James Price asked the News of the World to explain why, if the orgy was so Nazi, one of the guards was constantly referred to on the tape as "Officer Smith." They had no answer. Max won the case.
He won big: costs plus £60,000 in damages, the highest in recent British legal history for a privacy case. And now, as Max told me, people regard him "primarily as someone who has been wronged and who has pushed rather successfully for certain things. I'm a lot better off than I would have been if I'd gone off to hide."
Within three years, the News of the World was no more. In July 2011, The Guardian revealed that a private investigator working for the paper had hacked into the voice mail of a murdered teenager, Milly Dowler. In an attempt to control the scandal, Rupert Murdoch shut the paper down. Later, Neville Thurlbeck pled guilty to phone hacking and was imprisoned for six months. Colin Myler wasn't implicated and is currently the president and editor in chief of the New York Daily News.
Max felt like he'd been fighting not only for himself but also for the dead who preceded him. He meant people like Ben Stronge. "He was an English chef living in northern France, divorced, and he was a swinger. A man and a woman from the News of the World swung by his place. He gave them dinner, disappeared upstairs, and apparently came back down wearing nothing but a pouch." Max paused. Then he said, softly, "Pathos."
That was June 1992. When Ben Stronge
discovered that the people looking at him weren't swingers but News of the World journalists, he started crying. He telephoned the paper's editor, Patsy Chapman. According to Max, "He said, 'Please don't publish, because if you do, I'll never see my children again.' Well, they published anyway. They didn't give a damn. So he killed himself."
Then there was Arnold Lewis
. In the spring of 1978 the News of the World decided to infiltrate sex parties in caravans in the forests of Wales. The journalist Tina Dalgleish and her photographer, Ian Cutler, answered a small ad in a swingers' magazine. It had been placed by a lay preacher and teacher, Arnold Lewis. They met in the local pub.
The turnout was small. Five people showed up, three of whom were Tina Dalgleish, Ian Cutler, and Arnold Lewis. Arnold left a coded note for potential latecomers with an arrow pointing in the direction of the caravan and the exact walking distance: "3.8 miles."
At the caravan they drank sherry and ate biscuits, and an orgy occurred (which Ian Cutler and Tina Dalgleish witnessed but didn't participate in), and then a few days later Tina Dalgleish telephoned Arnold to reveal her identity.
Later, after I left Max, I managed to get Tina Dalgleish's photographer on the phone. Ian Cutler was recovering from a major stroke, but he wanted to talk. He'd never stopped thinking about Arnold Lewis, he said. For thirty-five years it had plagued him.
"Arnold told Tina that if she published the story he would kill himself," Ian said. "He was a preacher. Fucking hell. He was a preacher in a small Welsh village."
The News of the World published and Arnold Lewis killed himself. He inhaled exhaust fumes. His body was found in his car the morning the story appeared. The headline read "If You Go Down to the Woods Today You're Sure of a Big Surprise."
Max and I spent the afternoon trying to work it out. There was something about his behavior in the aftermath of the News of the World story that made the public totally uninterested in annihilating him. He just naturally seemed to get the formula right. People melted. But what was it?
At one point he raised with me the possibility that he might be a sociopath. Maybe he'd survived it all by drawing on special sociopathic powers. Maybe his instantaneous "whoosh" of resilient fury at the newsstand was a sociopathic whoosh. Maybe that was what we liked about him-that resilient fury. He told me that in 1991, two years before getting the job as president of motor racing's governing body, they "commissioned a psychiatrist to analyze me, and the man concluded I was a sociopath." As he said this, he gave me an anxious glance.
"Do you feel empathy?" I asked him.
"Yes!" he said. "The motive of most of the main things I've done in my life is feeling sorry for people. And the psychiatrist never met me. He just did it from the outside."
"Well, I don't think you're a sociopath," I said.
"Phew!" said Max.
"Anyway," I said, "a psychologist once told me that if you're worried you may be a sociopath that means you aren't one."
"Thanks, Ron, another phew," Max replied. He paused. "Jon," he said, "I meant Jon."
"More proof you're not a sociopath, because sociopaths wouldn't care about calling me Ron," I said.
"Another phew!" said Max.
It was getting dark by the time I left Max's house. We both felt we hadn't quite managed to solve the mystery, so we agreed to keep thinking about it.
"Oh, by the way," I said, on my way out. "Have you heard of an S&M place in America called Kink? I think I've got an invitation to visit them."
"Kink?" said Max. His eyes widened. "That is the place! I've only seen it on the Internet. They've got machines. They've got electrics. They've got water. You name it, they've got it. I'm quite envious!"
"Exciting!" I said.
A few weeks passed. And then I received an interesting e-mail from Max Mosley. Like me, he'd been thinking a lot about what it was about him that had helped him to stave off even the most modest public shaming. And now, he wrote, he thought he had the answer. It was simply that he had refused to feel ashamed.
"As soon as the victim steps out of the pact by refusing to feel ashamed," he said, "the whole thing crumbles."