Belfast Telegraph

Did Naomi Campbell really think court case was just for show?

By Jane Graham

It’s not unusual for a spectacularly beautiful woman to take my breath away — but watching Naomi Campbell give evidence at The Hague last week, it wasn’t admiration or envy which swelled my heart, but revulsion and dismay.

Even before she turned up to testify in the UN case against ex-Liberian president and alleged war crimes overlord Charles Taylor, Campbell treated the UN to flashes of the conceited and pathologically self-fixated manner for which she has become famous, and, in some fashion circles, celebrated as a true ‘original’.

She initially refused to testify at all, despite the fact that not appearing when summoned could have landed her seven years in prison, and her presence had to be secured by subpoena.

When she did arrive — late of course — she reminded the court what an honour it was for them to have a free special appearance from her, reiterating that she hadn’t wanted to come and that the intervention in her schedule was a “big inconvenience for me”.

Maybe the judge should have begun the show with some spoken word testimonies from victims of blood diamond trading in war-torn Sierra Leone.

But it is doubtful that even the realities of life for those who were raped, had limbs hacked off, or saw their families brutally murdered would have unruffled the beautifully-groomed and coiffured supermodel, who was back cavorting on a luxury yacht with her billionaire boyfriend within a few days of her court appearance.

Campbell’s misreading of the situation she was placed in last week, her inability to weigh up such grave proceedings with reference to anything other than her own schedule and convenience, is gobsmacking.

But we see this kind of tunnel-visioned approach in a number of huge stars, those whose talent or physical appearance is so far beyond the average persons that they have become used to being treated like super-humans, and have become used to behaving like haughty, vengeful gods.

Tiger Woods is the most obvious recent comparison, but there are numerous examples of that toxic concoction of ego, privilege, an entourage of toadying lackeys and a distinct lack of insight, empathy and character producing similarly delusional beasts.

Of course Campbell has never had a reputation for being the caring sharing type.

Despite being blessed with the kind of looks that could freeze a speeding train, she has always given the impression of being angry with the world, and contemptuous when ‘ordinary’ people do not treat her like a rare and precious deity.

The details of her two assault convictions — against a police constable, who had the bad luck to be around when one of her bags was lost, and a housekeeper who claimed she had indulged in “chronic abusive and repeatedly violent conduct toward her employees” — suggested a woman who became outraged and aggressive when the day-to-day of real life invaded her own charmed existence.

She seems to have considered her Hague testimony in a similar light, arriving fashionably late, adopting a bored, arrogant pout throughout, and then assuring her plebeian audience that she regarded the event as a big old drag.

For normal folk like you, she implied, this may be something of a big deal — for me, it’s an irritation, only marginally less offensive by the knowledge that pictures of my new bouffant and thousand dollar twinset are going to be beamed around the world.

In other words, we should be grateful for the nice photos. Cheers Naomi.

Belfast Telegraph

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