Media

‘Celebrity threesome’ named in Scotland - but they remain anonymous in England

By Seb Joseph | News editor

April 11, 2016 | 4 min read

A Scottish newspaper has named the celebrity couple who used a superinjunction to muzzle reports of an alleged threesome that has descended into a farce because their identities have already widely been reported outside of the UK.

The paper, which cannot be named, said it made the decision in order to champion free speech and free press. Legally, the newspaper can print the names of the mystery couple on its front page as the superinjunction only applies in England and Wales. However, the publication cannot name the individuals online.

Explaining the move, the newspaper drew on the similarities between the attempt to supress the names of the celebrity couple and the revelations from the ‘Panama Papers’. As reported in the Guardian, the Scottish newspaper's editorial said: “Maybe, as the very rich and very powerful clients of Mossack Fonseca run to their lawyers, it was bad luck that [the celebrities’] superinjunction emerged.

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“Because, just to be clear, we are not naming them because of the story they are trying to suppress. We couldn’t care less. We do, however, care about free speech, a free press and very wealthy people spending huge sums of money stopping stories they do not much like the sound of.

“If we did not name them, it would only encourage people – possibly celebrities, more probably tycoons and politicians – with something to hide to attempt to hide it behind a court order.”

The court order was filed to prevent the Sun on Sunday from printing the names. The controversial story has been reported in the US by two publications, while the names are also being banded about on social media.

Earlier today, an MP had threatened to reveal the names in the House of Commons, though Commons speaker John Bercow has since banned members from doing so. That the issue has got this far reflects its farcical nature, with many media commentators pointing out how pointless those measures are when the names are being reported in other parts of the world and shared online.

It is not the first time that the Scottish press has skirted a superinjunction. In 2011, footballer Ryan Giggs attempted to supress reports about his alleged affair with a model. But, acting on legal advice, a Scottish paper printed a full-page picture of the former Manchester United player, with the word ‘censored’ in capital letters.

To date the injunction has now been dropped by the Court of Appeal, read about it here.

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