In one of the strangest libel cases in legal history, bestselling author Dr Brooke Magnanti, aka ‘Belle de Jour’, is suing her ex-boyfriend for damages on the grounds that he had suggested she might never have been a prostitute.
While completing her doctoral studies, between 2003 and 2004, Magnanti supplemented her income by working as a London call girl known by the working name Taro.
Remaining anonymous, Magnanti went on to have her experiences published as The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl in 2005 and The Further Adventures of a London Call Girl in 2006, the books instantly becoming UK top 10 best-sellers.
Dr Magnanti’s legal team is expected to argue that the allegations are damaging to the reputation of the author, making it the first libel claim in the UK from an individual claiming to be defamed by suggestions they were not a prostitute.
In 2007 her books were adapted into a television programme, Secret Diary of a Call Girl starring Billie Piper as Belle, with the real name Hannah Baxter.
In November 2009, fearing her real identity was about to come out, Magnanti revealed her real name and occupation as a child health scientist.
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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