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The Guardian's Roy Greenslade sparks controversial debate as Charles Saatchi breaks silence over Nigella Lawson

Guardian media blogger Roy Greenslade has courted controversy in his latest blog, in which he criticises the tabloid media for the Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson story - just as Saatchi breaks his silence on the incident.

Saatchi told the Evening Standard - a title he has been a columnist for - that the incident was a "playful tiff" in which he held his wife by the neck to "emphasise my point". Saatchi went on to claim the pictures gave a "far more graphic and violent impression" of what happened and that the couple had made up by the time they got home.

Meanwhile, Professor Roy Greenslade - who also writes a column for the Evening Standard - took a shot at the Sunday People in his Guardian column, claiming the witness statements quoted by the paper were hearsay.

"Quotes from unnamed neighbours and assorted 'witnesses' are nothing more than hearsay. No-one except the couple really knows what happened and why.

"Note that they are both media-savvy enough to have refused to speak to anyone (and there were none of those well-know briefing by 'friends')."

Greenslade went on to say the incident was "deeply embarrassing for her [Lawson] and, even more so, for her husband", leading to a wave of criticism on social media from readers who accused Greenslade of victim blaming and belittling the seriousness of domestic violence.

On the issue, Greenslade said: "Speculation about the circumstances was rife on the net, as was condemnation (of Saatchi). Many 'experts' were quick to make pronouncements about domestic violence. Am I alone in thinking this may have been a rush to judgement?"

The Guardian blogger said the media frenzy around the incident had caused misreporting on claims that the Met police were investigating the pictures and questioned whether Scotland Yard should have released any statement to the press in the absence of any official complaint or report being made.

Saatchi told the Evening Standard that Lawson had left the home with their children to avoid the paparazzi and had no immediate plans to return.

Update

Shortly after Professor Greenslade's column was published it was altered to include the comments from Charles Saatchi.

Subsequently, another sentence in the piece - quoted in The Drum's article as it originally appeared - was changed.

The sentence "It is, of course, deeply embarrassing for her and, even more so, for her husband." was changed to "It is, of course, deeply embarrassing for them both."

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