It must be a paparazzo's ultimate dream to have the good fortune to be present with camera in hand when a celebrity gets involved in an incident of shocking public behavior. That's one explanation for why no one intervened when famed chef Nigella Lawson's husband Charles Saatchi got physical during an altercation between the couple a week ago, but it sure would have been nice if whoever kept snapping photos had taken a moment to approach Saatchi and, oh, I don't know, maybe politely asked him to stop violently choking his wife?
At any rate, the ugly fight has been splashed all over the media now, thanks to the images that document how Saatchi squeezed Lawson's neck and viciously pinched her nose while they were at a restaurant together. You won't believe the explanation Saatchi gave for what happened -- and I'm hoping Lawson isn't buying his outrageous excuse either.
If you've seen the photos, the fight looks downright nasty. Lawson is clearly distraught as Saatchi wraps his hand around her neck and, at one point, painfully tweaks her nose. Afterwards, she was photographed in tears, covering her mouth in a moment of pure misery.
Today Saatchi offered an explanation for the images, brushing it off as a perfectly normal private moment taken out of context:
About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella's neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasize my point. There was no grip, it was a playful tiff. The pictures are horrific but give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place. Nigella's tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt. We had made up by the time we were home.
Jesus. In what universe is it okay to hold someone's neck even once, much less repeatedly, while emphasizing your point? I'm pretty sure that's the standard definition of domestic abuse, and if he thinks it's okay to act like that in public, god only knows what's happening behind closed doors.
I'm particularly troubled by the fact that he categorized this as a "playful tiff." There is nothing -- NOTHING -- about the images or Nigella Lawson's facial expressions that looks playful. It looks to me like a woman being assaulted. Full stop.
In the wake of the incident, Lawson's spokesperson has issued a short statement:
Nigella and her children have moved out of the family home.
That sounds hopeful, but Saatchi says there's an explanation for that too:
The paparazzi were congregated outside our house after the story broke yesterday morning, so I told Nigella to take the kids off till the dust settled.
We can't know what's really going on between these two, but the combination of the photos and Saatchi's description of the incident make me hope like hell that Lawson is in the process of kicking this man to the curb, or at least demanding that he get counseling for his anger issues. I know relationships can be complicated, and it's really none of our business what this couple mutually decides is acceptable -- but I hope this highly publicized event does some good by showing Nigella Lawson that none of us believe she should be treated that way.
What do you think of Charles Saatchi's explanation for these photographs?
Image via Splash News