Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Advertising gura Saatchi isn't that great at selling himself

Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi
Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi

For someone who made his name in advertising, Charles Saatchi seems amazingly inept when it comes to the break-up of his marriage.

From describing grabbing Nigella by the throat outside a London restaurant as a "playful tiff" and accepting and dismissing a police caution for his behaviour, right through to threatening to divorce the TV chef (she ended up divorcing him), he's shown scant regard as to how this is all being seen by the general public.

Now, new reports of how he has sent "harassing" texts to Nigella and threatened to take his own life if she doesn't contact him (apparently, her silence is driving him mad) look like the actions of a thwarted control freak.

If newspaper stories are true, it seems that Saatchi, unable to dominate Nigella, is reduced to dreadful threats of self-annihilation, placing her in an impossible position.

Maybe he thinks it comes across as an act of passion and genuine love, but to many it will seem like the act of the classic bully.

As if this wasn't enough, he's allowed his daughter Phoebe (18) to issue a statement claiming that her stepmother Nigella "had behaved in a very cold-hearted way" towards her and that she felt "abandoned" by her. It may well have been Phoebe's own idea to speak out, as friends say, but the fact remains that it was Saatchi who brought her to the phone to speak to a journalist.

Was it really wise to embroil her in a public mudslinging session with the mother of the two step-siblings she is so close to? Even if she has been deeply hurt by the Domestic Goddess, it just doesn't look good. And as Charles Saatchi should know, perception is very important in public life.

Regardless of the truth about his former marriage, Saatchi is coming across as a rather unpleasant man. Worse, he looks like a pathetic one.

There is a lot to be said for the old stiff upper lip.

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