SAATCHI AND NIGELLA, NOT A PRETTY PICTURE: Jonathan Gabay.
Photographs in the Sunday People newspaper of one of the late Margaret Thatcher’s favourite advertising men, at Scott’s restaurant in Mayfair, London, with his hands around the neck of his wife, Nigella, daughter of the former chancellor Lord Lawson, has gripped the Press with speculations.
Reportedly, Charles Saatchi (who incidentally was my former boss) accepted a caution by police for assault. Explaining his actions to the London Evening Standard he said: “About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intensive debate about the children, and I held Nigella’s neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasis my point.
“There was no grip, it was a playful tiff.”
Further photographs appeared to show a tearful Ms Lawson outside the restaurant. Later, an official spokesperson confirmed, “She isn’t at the family home.”
Officers from the Community Safety Unit of Scotland yard are reported to be “carrying out preliminary inquiries.” To date, they had not received a complaint of assault from Ms Lawson or any other person.
Reputations whisked up to an mixed message
Whilst not suggesting any previous foul play, from a brand reputation perspective, the often seen televised perception of Ms Lawson leading a domestic life of bliss is arguably, from this point in time, at the very least, tainted.
There have been calls for the journalist, author and celebrity chef to speak out against domestic violence. And the publicity over the alleged incident, has brought to the attention of the general public the serious subject of domestic violence
The media asked me if the alleged incident would have an adverse effect on Ms Lawson’s personal brand. At this very early stage, I would suggested, ‘no’. After all, she was on the receiving end of the reported incident.
Should she speak out against domestic violence? Eventually, clarifying the events, why not – irrespective of the background circumstances and facts?
Either way, I feel her personal brand – one of a talented, strong, dignified and intelligent lady is not adversely damaged.
Not a pretty picture
As for Mr Saatchi’s personal brand … I hear that some artists have already asked for their work to be withdrawn from his gallery. As a promoter and sponsor of young British talents, his alleged actions hardly convey a message of refinement and respect.
Married, or not, people simply don’t have any excuse to purportedly physically or otherwise bully others.
But one of the most disturbing aspects of this case relates to the fellow diners during the incident at the restaurant. Whilst the Mayfair restaurant owners made it clear that the staff and management did not see the alleged incident, nor were they alerted to it at the time, what does the lack of intervention by fellow diners to come to the aid Ms Lawson, or at the very least speak to Mr Saatchi, say about the general attitude of care by today’s wider public?
That lack of concern for a fellow human being – irrespective of class, fame or anything else really does sticks in my throat.