Irish Daily Star editor suspended over Kate topless photos

The editor of the Irish Daily Star has been suspended following its publication last week of topless pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge.

Irish Daily Star: editor is suspended over topless pictures furore
Irish Daily Star: editor is suspended over topless pictures furore

Independent Star, the owner of the paper, released a statement yesterday saying it had suspended Michael O'Kane with "immediate effect".

O'Kane’s decision to publish the photos of Kate Middleton, as she was known before her marriage, triggered an angry reaction from Northern & Shell (N&S) chairman Richard Desmond, who told MediaWeek on Saturday that he promised to "close down" the joint venture behind the paper.

Independent Star, a joint venture between N&S and Independent News & Media, said that the decision to suspend O'Kane was made "pending an investigation into the circumstances that led to the Irish Daily Star re-publishing pages from the French magazine Closer".

The furore led Ireland's justice minister to issue a statement yesterday afternoon (17 September) saying he would revisit privacy legislation, a move that could lead to the end of self-regulation for newspapers in Ireland.

Meanwhile, in France last night, there were legal clashes between lawyers for the Duke and Duchess and Cambridge, and legal representatives of Closer, the French magazine that originally published the photographs.

Lawyers acting for the royals said the couple were "profoundly shocked and troubled" by the images. Closer removed the pictures from its website on Saturday following pressure from St James' Palace and Bauer Media, which licenses its Closer brand to the French magazine.

Elsewhere on the continent, the editor of Italian gossip magazine Chi defended his decision to publish the photos in a 26-page special edition, while accusing the British media of "double standards".

Alfonso Signorini told Reuters: "It’' a scoop and a big one – I didn't have the slightest hesitation." Chi is owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's publishing company Mondadori, which also controls Closer.

Signorini added: "The pictures are completely natural, they are not morbid and in no way harm the dignity or the morality of the people portrayed ... plus, while the terrace was in a private residence, it overlooked a street from where anyone passing by with a good lens could have snapped them."

Comment: How the nation fell for Kate's boobs

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