Reputation has no price


The question that must be asked is why? Why is David Beckham making a point of taking the prostitute Irma Nici to court for libel and a host of other legal grievances arising from her claims the pair slept together when he strenuously denied similar allegations made against him by Rebecca Loos all those years ago but didn't seek legal redress as he is doing now?

A £16 million lawsuit plus damages is no small matter. Practically anything involving Beckham is a circus and the magazine that printed the original story about the supposed tryst, In Touch has some heavyweight owners: the German publishing giant Bauer. It’s a case that good drag on and reveal more of Beckham’s private life (and even his own body) than he is comfortable with now.

It also comes at the worst possible time for Beckham, just when FIFA’s executive committee is preparing to announce its decision on the hosting rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Beckham has won deserved plaudits for his work promoting the England 2018 bid and something as salacious as a legal case involving the allegation of paid sex is hardly helping England’s hitherto faultless candidacy.

Why not, then, simply let it slide? Why dignify what we are told is a preposterous lie with such a jackboot response?

Well, because as we saw with the way he confronted a heckler who was giving him grief about it after the Los Angeles Galaxy–New York Red Bulls match last Friday – “Do you want to say it again? Do you want to say it again? Say it to my face!” – the man is hopping mad.

His reputation has been impugned, his kids have been exposed to things they shouldn’t have to hear, his wife will have been hurt and there doesn’t seem to be a shred of hard evidence to support Nici’s claims the pair met up five times in 2007, apart from untested comments by a former New York madam called Kristin Davis who, wait for it, happens to be representing Nici as an agent.

In my view, Beckham is entitled to take the matter to court. He’s not doing it for the money – the man needs money like the world needs another Martin Lawrence movie and, in any case, any sum that is awarded will be going to charity – but clearly on principle. And you can only respect him for that.

Something in my view that can’t be said about Nici, who is calling herself the “world’s most sought after call girl” on her website.

Sought after by who? Beckham’s lawyers?

A statement published on the site on the 25th of this month declares: “Irma stands by her previous statements. Any lawsuit against her is a publicity stunt and without merit.

“Any attorney who brings an action against her should be prepared to face sanctions and pay all legal costs because they will lose. There is more to the story that Irma hasn’t told yet.

“We are highly confident that Irma can provide enough detail and other forms of proof to persuade a jury that her tryst with David Beckham did indeed take place.

“Mr Beckham had better be prepared to drop his pants in court if he wants to pursue this matter as he has distinguishing characteristics, which will prove without a doubt that Irma is telling the truth.

“Mr Beckham’s baseless lawsuit is understandable – after all he has to tell Posh something.”

If indeed Beckham is asked to drop his pants and is happy to do it to defend his reputation, then all power to him. He’s already gone through enough embarrassment and a court date hasn’t even been set.

What’s most important, though, is that Beckham’s action and his preparedness to fight it all the way sends a very strong message to anyone who wants to make allegations about public figures that they better be prepared to back them up.

It might also make editors think twice about running such trashy stories before they hit the “print” button.

And that’s a win for everybody.

Previous articles from Jesse Fink:
* A-League needs a New York State of Mind
* Players will be players - on the field and off
* Iran looks to be the power in Asia
* Juventus and Liverpool heading in opposite directions
* Reputation has no price