A working class hero is something to be
Having worked with a host of big names, from The Beatles and Frank Sinatra to O.J. Simpson, Simon Cowell, Jade Goody and, currently, Imogen Thomas, he is one of the best-known PR men in the world, famous for breaking some of the biggest stories in newspaper history – and also for successfully suppressing ones that were ready to dominate the headlines. But behind the high level jousting with the hardened bootboys of the British media (and the decent types too), Max Clifford is a remarkeably straightforward and down to earth working class character, who – as it turns out – loves the life he lives.
Olaf Tyaransen, 15 Jun 2011
Have the press ever gone after you?
Yeah. Well, the News of the World tapped my phone and I went after them, and we sorted that out and we moved on. I was the first one to take them on and I settled about two years ago now. As soon as Rebekah Brooks became chief executive it all got sorted out very quickly. I worked all the time with the News Of The World for about 30 years, but I fell out with Andy Coulson and I stopped working with them. And of course, a lot of their big stories came from me, so I was an obvious target for them. I carried on working with The Sun and The Times and The Sunday Times and with Sky and all sorts of people. I mean, I’ve done probably about 30 interviews today including Sky and The Sun and whatever. So Andy went, and Rebekah and I, when she was made chief executive, we sorted it out over lunch.
What’s your response to people who say that you’ve damaged journalism by making it acceptable for tabloids to run stories that are fabricated by PR?
Well, I think I’m far more honest than most journalists I’ve ever met. If I don’t believe a story is true – I’m talking about something important – I won’t have anything to do with it. With Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster, I made it very clear that, in my view, he didn’t eat the hamster. Now what Kelvin McKenzie made of that, fine. Now if you wanna say, “Well, that’s upsetting journalistic integrity,” good luck to you!
“Mellor Made Love in Chelsea Strip” – you also
Hold on just a second. I didn’t do the interview. Antonia de Sancha did. The fact that she mentioned the Chelsea shirt doubled the fee for the interview, for sure. But he did make love to her. He did have an affair with her. He was a cabinet minister lecturing us about family values. So I don’t think that I’ve
So you’re not a hypocrite?
No, no, no. I would hate to think that. I’ll always stand up to be counted. I don’t think I’ve ever said “no comment” in my life. even though probably hundreds of time I should have done. It’s one of the lovely things about what I do. I go on television now and I’ll answer their questions and I’ll say what I think and feel. If I offend someone, then fine.
Have you ever been wrong-footed?
Of course! Have I made mistakes? Of course I have. I mean, when you’re working 100 miles an hour, 18 hours a day, seven days a week, and you’re looking after so many people you rely on people being straight. You come to me and you say, “Max, I’m in the middle of this and I haven’t done it, and this is what I’ve done.” And I find out three months later that actually you were economical with the truth, so... of course.