At some point in the past David Furnish, husband of celebrity crooner Elton John went of to the USA where he engaged in a threesome with another couple. Now you, I and every other right thinking person would have never have found out about this (or want to) but darling Elton threw a hissy fit when one or more of the UK redtops reported on this. Elton dug into his substantial moneybag and went to the UK courts to secure an injunction. One that would stop *any UK public medium* from mentioning this story or anything related to it. That in itself constitutes an unacceptable level of censorship but that alone wasn’t enough. Elton John, or rather his expensive legal team, are now trying to enforce this UK ruling outside the UK. They have written to private individuals, social media companies (Twitter in specific) and hosting companies as far as the USA demanding that any content mentioning Elton & David in this context be removed. All this under threat of expensive legal action.
I even received an email from Twitter because I had shared a link to such an article published on an US website. Apparently Twitter had been contacted by the John’s legal team because my tweet infringed on UK law. The email and my reply can be read below.
My good friend and fellow agitator Paddy manning wrote a piece about this whole issue for the MercatorNet website but after prompt and heavy-handed legal threats this has been taken down. It is worth noting here that MercatorNet is based in Australia so logically should not be subject to UK law. However a courtcase to establish this would be long and costly and would quite probably bankrupt an organisation such as Mercatornet. Eltons legal team knows this and uses this to bully their way.
All this constitutes a very serious breach of freedom of (online) speech and goes contrary to anything that “the internet” stands for as a relatively free and unregulated medium. It certainly pisses me off!
So as a way of saying “up yours”to Elton and David, and “well done” to Paddy Manning I am sharing his whole blogpost below. I am also saving the blogpost as a PDF and uploading it to a number of filesharing sites. Just to make the point that one rich bully can’t control the distributed nature of the internet.Or to paraphrase King Leonidas I of Sparta: μολὼν λαβέ
AVERY IMPERFECT SUPERINJUNCTION
Under the headline “The Perfect Marriage” the Daily Mail gushed in prose so breathless anaerobic life forms sprouted spontaneously on the screen:
“Eleven years ago this month, Sir Elton John proposed to his partner, David Furnish, thus formalising a relationship that — as the whole world knows — has blossomed into one of the most blissfully happy of show business marriages. We know this, of course, because Sir Elton and David have been generous enough to share almost every detail of their relationship and family life through the pages of celebrity magazines, in high-profile TV interviews and on social media.”
Leaving aside the need to wipe one’s screen & overdose on anti-nausea medication, there cannot now be a literate person in the British Isles who does not know that Elton John, and his husband David Furnish, are the couple at the centre of the long running “PJS” super-injunction. The journalist who typed that saccharine fogged horror knows, as everybody with access to the internet knows. The courts have become Canute’s courtiers standing in a digital tide.
Furnish flew to the US for a tryst with a gay couple who subsequently (no honour amongst sluts) tried sell a kiss-and-tell to the Sun newspaper. The Sun, preparing the article, contacted lawyers for the couple. The Elton Johns were granted a ferocious super-injunction to protect their privacy largely argued on the grounds of protecting “their” children. Mr Furnish was not being unfaithful; Judge Jackson noted that “the spouse of PJS accepts that theirs is not a mutually exclusive sexual relationship”.
The internet is international, not bound by a London court and sites on servers in California, Canton and Cavan can be read by English men and women, making the court’s action seem futile but with the great blunt mace of the super injunction the court may fiercely coerce silence. The English can read news on foreign sites but they will be punished for discussing it. This is late Tudor England with electric light. The court has infantilised the English in a desperate attempt to preserve a propaganda Potemkin village for the English establishment.
What does it matter if some guy flies to America for a night of sex with two other middle aged men? We are all adults, are we not and is not their private life their own? Who are we, mere humans, fallible and frail, to judge.
Who are we indeed.
The tawdry private life of the (any) couple, the arrangements they make for their own amusement wouldnt matter if they had not spent some much effort convincing us that they do. A fictional version of their life together has been slathered in every media outlet that can print or say the home life of our own dear queen and this has been for brutal political purpose: same sex marriage is good, surrogacy better. The press is for propaganda and the commoners as a have a no right to know the truth or competing versions of the truth. The court, wittingly or unwittingly has made itself partner in a vicious hypocrisy, defending the illusion of the Elton John’s family life against its sordid reality and worse, pretending to do it for the children so that the great and good may go on lying.
Little argument can be made for the saving children from the putative damage of the relationship’s public exposure when they are living with two selfish hedonists who obtained them by purchase. If the story behind the super injunction casts a cold light on the Elton John’s understanding of marriage, it must cast an icy glaze on the horrid practice of surrogacy: a combination of eugenics, prostitution, kidnapping, slavery and child abuse regarded as a a thing of beauty by every fashionable clown.
Not buying the Sun for a few days in the Elton John household is a better option than coercive national censorship. If you make your relationship a lodestar of public policy, the public have every right to hear about that relationship’s reality, even if that makes you blush, sweat or squirm. Elton John regularly uses his relationship and those children to bolster arguments for issues as far reaching as transgender bathroom rights in North Carolina.( http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/civil-rights/279995-north-carolina-governors-ignorance-of-trans-identity) The super injunction is a wealthy elitist having his cake and eating it but being backed by the public courts in the act.
If public policy is to be argued and defended by reference to one’s own family, it is a logical quid pro quo that one’s family life is publically reportable. A family of conservative Christians leveraging their family life for influence would find a very different reception to request for privacy no matter how the courts ruled.
The Supreme Court, by re-instating the injunction thrown out by the Court of Appeals, has placed the lives of the rich, famous and who have children out of bounds. Because the Elton Johns are wealthy and have children, the rules that apply to media reporting their sexual escapades are markedly different to the reporting of childless Darren and Mandy from Dagenham. “Love rat Darren ate my hamster” is permissible but the exposure of celeb parents with the funds to persuade the state of the value of their privacy is anathema.
This creates a strange, unlegislated, new restriction on press freedom. Kiss-and-tell and Darren-broke-my-bed stories may be distasteful, boring, reassurance for the miserable that nobody is really any better, a way of keeping everybody in the mud, but they are the price of a free press. That price is worth paying many times over.
Giving the right to decide what can be reported or what is news to anybody other than those who buy papers or consume news, is toxically dangerous, undermining the ability of media to report the actions of the powerful and leaving the public less trusting with each omission, each breach of the trust that we will be told the story by somebody competing for our attention.
Tinfoil hats and conspiracies thrive in the half-light these injunctions generate. They have no place in a net linked world or in a free country.