Let’s Stop Putting Nigella Lawson On Trial, Too, Shall We?

While Manfriend was house-elfing last night, I switched on the TV so he could listen to the dulcet tones of the news anchors as he cooked us dinner.

And you know what the second news item for the nation was?

Nigella Lawson’s court case. Or at least you’d think it was her court case by the news anchor’s gleeful, “And now we go to the Saatchi-Lawson case, in which Nigella Lawson today talked about her drug use problem. Let’s find out whether she used cocaine, shall we?”

Now, before we address Nigella Lawson and her supposed drug problem, let’s introduce Nigella to those of you who don’t know her. You are in for a treat. Literally.

Nigella Lawson is the mother of all home -cooked foods that are delicious and good with the world. She has a cooking show on the BBC, which ends each episode with Nigella eating the delectable fruits of her labour in her studio kitchen, in the dark—which is how we all know that delicious food should be eaten.

An Oxford University laureate, Nigella Lawson has sold three million books, and her accolades include being named 2000’s British book author of the year. And not to objectify her or anything, but somewhere in between her ongoing campaign to make all of our lives more scrumptious, she also found the elixir of life. Nigella Lawson is over 50, and she looks like the Goddess of Kitchen.

Here is Nigella’s website: http://www.nigella.com/about-nigella. Feast your eyes, because the rest of this article is about Nigella is being portrayed in the press right now, which is not representative at all of Nigella Lawson in her private life, or of her (tasty) career.

Don’t worry if you still don’t know who Nigella Lawson is though. If you’re not familiar with Nigella’s cooking, you may have seen her in pictures splashed all over magazines and the internet around the world. These particular pictures aren’t of Nigella in her usual role, standing sensually in an apron next to some freaking fantastic-looking Italian food.

Nope—the photos that come up first with a quick Google of Nigella these days are series of shots depicting one ill-fated morning at a cafe, when Nigella went was sitting outside in the sun with her husband, Charles Saatchi. And her husband has his hands around her neck, and he is strangling her.

After the photos went viral, a week or so passed and not much happened. Eery silence from Nigella, while the world waited with bated breath to see what she’d do. And then the great day came; the day that the paparazzi who had been camped outside her house had been waiting for—Nigella was moving her things out of the family home.

What about Saatchi, though? What acts of contrition did Saatchi see fit to show his wife after literally being caught red-handed? In Nigella’s words, he attempted to woo her—with threats. Says Nigella, “If I didn’t go back and clear his name, he would destroy me.” Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Charles Saatchi: The man who informed his wife of 10 years that he was divorcing her by announcing it on the Daily Mail.

And we know exactly what Saatchi said to Nigella Lawson because he’s on a campaign right now to drag Nigella Lawson’s name through the mud. The news item that was so breathlessly discussing Nigella’s drug habit is not actually Nigella Lawson’s trial at all —two of her former personal assistants have their honour. These ladies are charged with racking up nearly half a million dollars worth of spending sprees.

Saatchi has seen the trial for the opportunity it is, and he has been true to his word. Charles Saatchi is attempting to destroy Nigella Lawson. The trial has turned into the Nigella Lawson side-show, with Saatchi telling the court all about his former wife’s supposed drug habit. A drug habit that was apparently so bad that he’s even gone to the trouble of coining her “Higella”, and sternly informing the courts that “Higella” was so scared that Saatchi would find out, that she was bribing her assistants with the family credit card.

What the news report failed to say in today’s overjoyed exposé of Nigella Lawson’s supposed drug habit is that Saatchi has absolutely no proof of any of this. For a drug habit so bad that it was worth being blackmailed into nearly a million dollars of credit card debt—don’t you think someone other than Charles Saatchi might have noticed? It turns out Saatchi himself isn’t so sure now, stating when asked about the assistants’ claims of the extent of “Higella’s” drug problem; “I may have believed it, but I may have been completely wrong and they may have been deluded.” Riiiiiiight.

The only thing that gives me some faith in humanity is the woman who has been at the epicentre of the scandal, and yet the only person to remain silent. Until now.

Unlike her petulant ex-husband, Nigella Lawson has kept a dignified silence throughout these ordeals. No announcing the divorce to local tabloids, no interviews, nothing. The only thing Nigella is talking about is the love of her life; fabulous food.

Nigella Lawson did not have to face the flashing lights of the paparazzi as she turned up to court. She did not have to stand in front of the court in front of her former abuser. Nigella was not compelled to come—she came of her own free will.Nigella Lawson could have easily kept quiet. She could have let Charles Saatchi convince the world that she was curled up at home, buried in cocaine and chocolate cake, and she could have seen her career go down in cocaine-covered slander.

And she didn’t. Nigella Lawson marched on down to that court, telling people that she, “Considered it her civic duty.” But what did “Higella” have to say for herself about her million dollar drug habit?

Nigella Lawson shared a sweet and painful memory with the world about how she did cocaine a couple of times with her terminally ill first husband, to give him a “temporary escape”. She also stated that she dabbled with cocaine a couple of times to cope with her husband’s “intimate terrorism.” Not the drug problem the media has been hoping for then – just the achingly familiar problem of a vicious, controlling, and vindictive husband.

The news story here is not that Nigella did cocaine a few times—it’s that the media is spreading the message that Charles Saatchi so dearly wants everyone to hear. That our domestic goddess Nigella is actually “Higella” in a cocaine-smeared apron.

Nigella Lawson does not deserve to have irrelevant details about her private live splashed everywhere. She should not have to share private details with the public about her first husband’s final days to clear her name. She should not have to explain exactly why her husband decided to strangle her (FYI: Nigella had cooed over a sweet baby and said she was looking forward to being a grandparent. Saatchi: “I am the only person you should be concerned with; I am the only person who should be giving you pleasure”).

When did it become okay to provide a platform for known abusers to continue to harass, threaten, and attempt to destroy the careers and reputations of their former victim? Why are we all re-victimizing Nigella by digging up a couple of times she did drugs, and not reporting on just how incredibly vile this man is? Or, crazy idea here, just not reporting on the trial at all?

So what can we do, the spectators of this media circus? We can remember that Nigella is a person, just like us, who deserves to keep her dignity. We can take a second and pause next time we see an article flashing around about “Nigella’s drug binge!”, “Nigella on the coke again!”, and wonder if we want to keep looking at news vendors that are acting as a mouthpiece for the likes of Charles Saatchi, whether they know it or not.

This year, my family’s Santa sacks will all have a Nigella Lawson cookbook in them. Let’s stand behind Nigella Lawson as she stands up to Saatchi and the media. Let’s stop putting Nigella Lawson on trial.

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Tweet us @litdarling and Nigella @Nigella_Lawson to show your support!

View Comments (3)
  • I’m very saddened to see Nigella get her name dragged thru the mud the way it is, especially since her accusers are providing no proof. I couldn’t care less what Nigella has done in her darkest hours in order to cope–we’ve all been in tough times and have done what we had to do. But to see her getting burned at the stake for it by these greedy women and that vindictive ex-husband of hers is just sickening. I will continue to be a fan of hers no matter what!

  • It is completely irrelevant that Nigella had taken drugs, so has the vast amount of the population. It is clear that the employees abused the trust they were given by her and her former husband and the bickering about the employers relationship is just a smokescreen to hide their guilt. I feel very sorry for Nigella to have her name tarnished in a revenge attack by her former employee’s in order for them to try and mitigate their guilt. I do hope the sentences reflect the complete waste of court time ad taxpayers money on two greedy individuals who wanted to lead the high life without the means to do so. In their defence their unauthorised spending should of been should of been noticed much sooner., however they were trusted and were part of the family like they say so perhaps they were given the benefit of the doubt.

    They were also given a way out by Charles to pay the money back, and they refused probably hoping they could blackmail their way out, Perhaps now they can write a book and pay them back from the profits along with a heavy community service order and an order to pay back a proportion of the money would be the best justice and teach a lesson that spending somebody else’s money does not pay in the end.

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