One of The Sun’s most senior executives has launched a remarkable attack against The Guardian newspaper for “verbally sexually assaulting” Page 3 girls after it described them as “downmarket scrubbers".
Blogging for HuffPostUK, Richard Caseby, managing editor of The Sun, says The Guardian’s description of his paper's topless models is “violent".
Caseby now wants an apology from the paper’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, who he says has abandoned The Guardian’s “revolutionary” approach on women’s issues to instead pick on easy targets.
He writes: “I defend anyone's right to an honest objection to Page 3, but The Guardian’s verbal sexual assault on these women is as repellent as it is baffling.
"Perhaps the Editor Alan Rusbridger calculates that ordinary Page 3 girls are fair game and won’t retaliate in the libel courts.
“I'll leave that to QCs who have a passing knowledge of what "downmarket scrubber" means to the man on the King's Place omnibus. But perhaps Rusbridger might start by apologising.”
He adds: “All institutions have their time in the sun and all media must adapt to a fast-changing digital universe and the readers they serve. But the remarkable thing about Page 3 is that in today’s culture of instantly available hard core pornography, it has not changed at all. It seems quaint.
“But we shouldn’t be surprised. Those middle-class, expensively-schooled, Oxbridge types like Rusbridger seem to despise the concerns and interests of ordinary folk.
“Trouble is, though, these days it's just not politically correct to sneer at working-class culture. Goodness, how could you ever look your cleaner in the eye again? So they body swerve the masses, and attack the tabloids because they dare to offer people what they want.”
The Page 3 row was reignited last week in a Comment Is Free column written by Marina Hyde, headlined “Reeva Steenkamp's corpse was in the morgue, her body was on the Sun's front page.”
In the blog, Hyde argued that The Sun used a bikini picture of Reeva Steenkamp, the FHM model who was killed in a shooting involving Oscar Pistorius, on its cover because it would boost sales.
Hyde wrote: “What Rupert [Murdoch] is after, this made clear, is a better class of tit – not those cheap tits, attached to downmarket scrubbers so guilelessly keen to show you them, but the sort of chic tit you get on the catwalk where it looks like the tit's owner can take or leave you looking at it, or the sort of tit you see if some celebrity has failed to establish exactly what flashbulbs might do to a material that appeared opaque when she left the house.”
The Guardian declined to comment.
The Huffington Post was also criticised on Twitter for including a promotional image of Reeva Steenkamp in a bikini as part of a profile article.