Tag Archives: domestic abuse


19 Jun

HandsOfOrlacRecently Charles Saatchi– multimillionaire art collector, YBA grandee, head of doublespeak and propaganda for Margaret Thatcher’s election to Prime Minister– was photographed in public with his hands around the neck of his wife, Nigella Lawson. (Original pictures here if you don’t know or can’t imagine what domestic violence, physical bullying and spousal abuse looks like).

His absurd explanation cements my view of what a nasty piece of work he’s always been.

“About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella’s neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasise my point.

“There was no grip, it was a playful tiff. The pictures are horrific but give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place. Nigella’s tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt.”

If he believes in this explanation, he’s truly psychotic. Such behaviour could conceivably be construed as “playful” if they were in a BDSM dungeon rather than discussing childcare at a restaurant, but even in that case there’d be a safe word so Nigella could stop him if she thought he was going too far.

I think it’s more likely that he’s just a boring, pathetic old mini-dick wife beater like any other but his ad man’s contempt for the public is so boundless that he assumes they’ll swallow any old crap so he couldn’t be bothered to come up with anything better than this pathetic fairytale.

The police didn’t buy it either, and cautioned him, i.e., for those unfamiliar with UK police practice, he was given a legally binding and permanently recorded warning that he could have been charged with a crime but was being excused on this occasion.

I’m emphasising this incident not just because laying a hand on anybody to “make a point” is never right and doing it to your partner is unlawful domestic abuse and assault, although that would be reason enough to post it. I’m mainly posting it to note the extreme unlikelihood that anybody in the art world will think any less of Saatchi as a result of this episode, let alone shun or boycott him. In fact, give it a week or two and I guarantee you’ll see high profile Saatchi apologists sliming out of the woodwork to say that we shouldn’t take any notice of the actions or morality of the man himself because he’s done so much for art. Or even worse, they’ll be saying that we shouldn’t say anything negative about him at all just because of his power and because speaking truth to power is career suicide (hence the name of this blog, in case you hadn’t noticed.)

There are so many evil people in the art world, people who are exceedingly well known as wrong ‘uns by practically everybody in the sector. It rarely cramps their style very much, or gives most artists, critics or gallerists much pause in dealing with them. Anita Zabludowicz, in addition to being an educationally sub-normal modern day Marie Antoinette, funds her “art philanthropy” with her husband’s arms dealing fortune. Some so-called art galleries are little more than tax dodges or money laundering facilities. There’s a notorious British gallery director who’s bounced from one leading role to another either in spite of (and in some ways because of) the fact that he’s familiar as a sex pest with a tendency to irrational, psychotic rages… familiar, indeed, even to people who haven’t met him. Those who have met him recall their encounters with a shudder, especially if they’re female. Although the arts in Britain provide employment for about 2.5 million people all told (more than the finance and construction industries, incidentally) in some ways it’s a very small business. Anybody’s who’s in it to any significant degree knows the bad apples. Despots, warlords, oligarchs, gangsters and malignant motherfuckers in general are some of the best customers of Christie’s, Sotheby’s and the major galleries. The nasty, overprivileged, sociopathic, blood-sucking trash that washes up at Venice, Frieze, Art Basel and whatnot has to be seen to believed. The top end of the art world is mostly revoltingly immoral and no good person can survive in it for long, nor would they want to. You know, just FYI.

PS: Quite an important PS that I should have added in the first place… if you are a victim of domestic abuse then help and support are available. One in four women and one in six men in the UK are statistically likely to be subjected to domestic violence at some point in their lives. Start with a useful, straightforward and non-judgemental page from the NHS: Help for domestic violence. Since Charles Saatchi seems to be confused about the difference between a reasonable discussion and physically intimidating his wife, he might benefit from reading this NHS page as well. It states that

We think of domestic violence as hitting, slapping and beating, but it can also include emotional abuse as well as forced marriage and so-called “honour crimes”. It’s abuse if your partner or a family member:

  • threatens you

  • shoves or pushes you

  • makes you fear for your physical safety

  • puts you down, or attempts to undermine your self-esteem

  • controls you, for example by stopping you seeing your friends and family

  • is jealous and possessive, such as being suspicious of your friendships and conversations

  • frightens you

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