The XX Factor

Charles Saatchi Dumps Nigella Lawson Because She Didn’t Defend Him Against Abuse Charges

Nigella Lawson

Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Charles Saatchi, the advertising mogul who was photographed with his hands brutally grasping the neck of his famous wife, celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, in London last month appears to be setting a new land-speed record for self-regard. Over the weekend, Saatchi announced that he would be seeking a divorce from Lawson. The grounds? That she’d been insufficiently supportive of him in a difficult time.

“I feel that I have clearly been a disappointment to Nigella during the last year or so, and I am disappointed that she was advised to make no public comment to explain that I abhor violence of any kind against women, and have never abused her physically in any way,” Saatchi told the Daily Mail.

Saatchi’s disappointment apparently stems from the fact that Lawson’s PR representative told him to apologize publicly and say he was ashamed by the incident, which he was disinclined to do. Which might have been reasonable if Saatchi was fighting charges from Scotland Yard with Lawson’s support. But he’s not. Saatchi accepted a simple caution from Scotland Yard, which, as the Guardian puts it, “are given to save the expense and logistical difficulty of a full court hearing and happen when someone admits what is usually a relatively minor offence.” That pretty “good” deal isn’t enough for Saatchi, who I guess wants to be able to admit guilt to Scotland Yard while maintaining the opposite to the public.

It’s rather telling that Saatchi’s actually surprised that Lawson is unwilling to defend him in public—a defense, by the way, that probably would not have restored his reputation. If recent history, like Rihanna’s reunion with Chris Brown, is any lesson, asking Lawson to testify to Saatchi’s goodness would only have made her look like she was trying to rationalize returning to him, rather than telling the truth. Her words would do little to actually erase those paparazzi snapshots. Saatchi may have made his money in advertising, but he appears to have forgotten the power of an image.