Motor-racing boss Max Mosley, centre, leaves the Royal Courts of Justice on Thursday after winning a privacy-invasion lawsuit over a British tabloid's claims he took part in a Nazi-themed orgy.
Motor-racing boss Max Mosley won an invasion of privacy suit Thursday against a tabloid newspaper that claimed he took part in a Nazi orgy.
High Court Judge David Eady ruled the News of the World must pay Mosley $120,000 US in damages, plus legal costs, for the story claiming Mosley participated in a sadomasochistic sex romp with a Third Reich theme.
The 68-year-old Mosley has acknowledged he participated in an encounter with sex workers in a basement apartment in London, but says it was private and that there were no Nazi overtones.
Mosley said the ruling exposed "the Nazi lie upon which the News of the World sought to justify their disgraceful intrusion into my private life."
"I hope my case will help deter newspapers in the U.K. from pursuing this type of invasive and salacious journalism," he added.
The payout is large for a British privacy lawsuit, where damage awards are usually modest. But the judge did not award the punitive and exemplary damages Mosley had sought to deter other newspapers from running similar stories.
The judge ruled that Mosley "had a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to sexual activities [albeit unconventional] carried on between consenting adults on private property."
Videos show Mosley bound and whipped
During a weeklong hearing this month, the court heard evidence from Mosley and four of the women he met for S&M sessions at an apartment he rented for the purpose in London's affluent Chelsea neighbourhood.
The court was played covertly recorded videos that showed Mosley being bound and whipped, then relaxing naked with a cup of tea. Some of the participants wore striped prison-style uniforms and one of the dominatrices wore a German Luftwaffe jacket.
Mosley told the court he had an interest in sadomasochism going back 45 years, but said he found the idea of Nazi sex fantasies abhorrent. He said he and the women acted out a German prison scenario, with no Nazi overtones.
The issue is especially sensitive because he is the son of the late Oswald Mosley, Britain's best-known fascist politician in the 1930s and a friend of Adolf Hitler.
After the News of the World story broke in March, Mosley faced calls to quit as president of the International Automobile Federation, which oversees Formula One racing.
Despite the pressure, he won a confidence vote last month allowing him to stay until his fourth term ends in October 2009.
I personally think tabloids.... british and US ones in paticular don't know when to not cross the line anymore, and hopefully this will give them a reality check.
The only people who read this sort of crap and are affected by it, are people who put too much devotion into other people's lives and don't really face their own lives. I couldn't care if he was chopping off his toes and stitching them back on every night... it's nobody's business and if it doesn't affect their ability to do their job they are paid to do, then it shouldn't be made public.
Almost makes me want to make a counter-tabloid where I will hire a bunch of photographers and paparazi to tail around Tabloid photographers, take pictures of their private life, put their kids out in the news for all to see, and expose all their sexual secrets..... see how the hell they like that....