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Old 11-02-2008, 08:51 AM   #1
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Bono's inner circle condemns the Mail's sleazy bikini spin

Photographs with beach girls show 'gutter mentality', happily-married star was posing for fans, say his friends



By NIAMH HORAN

Sunday November 02 2008

Friends of Bono have come to his defence and rubbished the thinly-veiled innuendo published in the Mail last week, after he had posed for pictures with two bikini-clad young women in the south of France.

Although an official line has yet to come from Bono's camp, close friends of the U2 frontman and his wife Ali Hewson condemn the spin put on the innocent photographs. The two young women in question have come out to strongly deny any impropriety.

The images made headlines across the globe but his childhood friend and noted artist Guggi voiced his distaste at the "gutter mentality" in certain sections of British-owned media, which he says have knowingly "made something out of nothing".

The photographs appeared in the British Mail on Sunday and its Irish offshoot, after the 48-year-old rock icon met two 19-year-olds, American fashion student Andrea Feick and her British friend Hannah Emerson, while drinking at a beach bar in St Tropez with friend Simon Carmody.

Enjoying the sunshine and in holiday mode, he obliged a request to pose for a photograph with the pair --who he is said to have known for several years -- even pulling a couple of his well-known showman poses.

The thrilled girls also took photographs of themselves on board the Edge's private yacht -- at one stage even donning Bono's trademark army cap.

But within days the pictures were snapped up by the Mail on Sunday after being posted on the social networking site, Facebook, by one of the girls.

Since then, both young women have completely rubbished the sleazy slant pushed by Associated Newspapers who used their column inches to pose question marks over Bono's 26-year marriage.

Ms Feick, who posted the pictures, told the newspaper that she had known Bono for a few years and their relationship was just friendship.

"I think that for somebody who's much older than I am . . . no thank you. He's a friend of mine and that's it," she said.

Now friends of the superstar have also sprung to his defence. Bono's childhood friend Guggi said he hadn't bothered looking at the images.

"It's this type of gutter mentality that makes something out of nothing," he said.

"I haven't seen the pictures myself and I wouldn't want to see them. I make a point of not looking at that type of thing."

The Irish artist, who has remained friends with the U2 singer for more than 40 years, explained how Bono finds it difficult to turn away fans.

"He gives everyone the time of day. He finds it hard to say 'no' if anyone comes up to talk or ask him for a picture. There are plenty of photos out there with his arms around big fat men too -- it's just that none of those make the paper," he laughed.

Another close friend of the couple pointed out that if that picture had been taken in Dublin and the two girls were fully clothed, no one would bat an eyelid.

"A lot has been made of it because the girls are in bikinis but you have to remember the pictures were taken on a beach where that's the usual form of dress.

"There would be no difference had they approached him with a camera in Lillies. The only reason people are up in arms is due to the lack of clothes."

The source also spoke of the strength of Bono and Ali's marriage.

"To last that long, it would have to be made of something special. He lives in a rarefied atmosphere where people literally faint in his presence and if Bono is any way normal or down to earth, it is because of Ali. And at the end of the day she is the only person he has to answer to."

Bono is famous for his accessibility -- having no entourage and minimal security -- with only his driver occasionally doubling up as his minder.

He survives on a tight-knit circle of loyal friends --including Guggi and Gavin Friday -- who have been by his side since before his rapid rise to fame.

His group are often seen with him on nights out when he returns to Dublin, hanging out in a favourite haunt, Lillies Bordello.

Friends say they would be "ready to step in at a moment's notice" if anyone is causing him hassle.

Last summer, I was in that nightclub when the world's biggest rock star walked in.

Taking a seat at his usual table he got comfortable on a plush velvet couch as the giant red velvet curtains around the VIP area were drawn and he settled in to enjoy a couple of drinks.

I approached and we had a friendly chat.

Staring out at me from behind his famous yellow plastic glasses, he smiled politely as I introduced myself and made small talk about a relative of his that I knew.

What stands out is how polite, friendly and generous with his time he was -- especially as he was out trying to enjoy a few drinks with his friends. As I said goodbye I asked: "Any chance of a quick photo Bono?"

"I can't," he smiled with a shrug "What would it look like if I was getting my picture taken with women in clubs?"

The truth is he was giving me a polite brush off -- at the outset I had explained I was a journalist. As I see it, it was the fact that he is more accommodating to fans than to journalists that led to his being targeted by the British tabloid.

But despite Associated Newspapers' determination to bring the rock star's name into disrepute, Bono and Ali appeared unfazed last week as they holidayed in Disneyland, California, with their youngest children Elijah Bob (9), and John Abraham (7).

As the paparazzi snapped, Ali got into the spirit of the children's wonderland, donning a pair of Minnie Mouse ears while strolling beside her husband -- whose trademark green army cap was back where it rightfully belonged.
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Old 11-02-2008, 09:31 AM   #2
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They should just let it drop.
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Old 11-02-2008, 10:13 AM   #3
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^ Exactly.

I doubt Bono would ever release any sort of statment about this "incident". He has really other things to worry about.

Btw, I think "Sleazy Bikini Spin" would make a great song title.
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Old 11-02-2008, 10:56 AM   #4
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It was nothing as we expected (and as the girl said herself) beforehand then.


It's a shame that stories like these always cause a stir and get way too much attention.
Silly.
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Old 11-02-2008, 11:16 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by vaz02 View Post
They should just let it drop.

And articles like this only continue the controversy - unfortunately.
Niamh, can you provide us a link for this?


If the writer really wanted to strengthen this article, they would have quoted who their "sources" were other than just Guggi who admits that he has not seen the pictures.
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Old 11-02-2008, 12:11 PM   #6
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Bono's inner circle condemns the Mail's sleazy bikini spin - News & Gossip - Independent.ie
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Old 11-02-2008, 12:30 PM   #7
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Silly tabloids Anything to sell a story.
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Old 11-02-2008, 12:41 PM   #8
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Did this story make it onto any of the gossip columns? I haven't heard of this until my co-worker told me about it.
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Old 11-02-2008, 12:45 PM   #9
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And articles like this only continue the controversy - unfortunately.
Niamh, can you provide us a link for this?


If the writer really wanted to strengthen this article, they would have quoted who their "sources" were other than just Guggi who admits that he has not seen the pictures.
Irish Independent Newspaper

Irish Independent News Ireland | Irish Newspaper | Free News Stories Online-Independent.ie
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Old 11-02-2008, 12:48 PM   #10
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Did this story make it onto any of the gossip columns? I haven't heard of this until my co-worker told me about it.
Yeah, it was everywhere unfortunately.

This whole sorry mess was even commented on the showbiz section of the main news programs over here in Argentina, which I found completely stupid given the amount of serious stuff they should be covering instead of a rock star posing with fans for a couple of pics.
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Old 11-02-2008, 01:07 PM   #11
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Thanks for the links.

In the world of the media, the quickest way to squash a rumor (especially when it's accompanied by a potentially damaging photo) is to answer the charge against one in a direct and honest manner.


The way to allow a rumor to grow is to not answer the charge against one in a direct and honest manner....that tactic ends up helping no one in the long run.
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Old 11-02-2008, 01:38 PM   #12
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^ I disagree.

Firstly, the photo wasn't "damaging", that's just exaggerating. As the article stated, Bono has taken thousands of pictures with fans and these girls just happen to wear their bikinis on the beach. "Damaging" it is only for people who have their minds in the gutter.

And secondly, I really don't think Bono should answer to any of these stupid rumours, he'd just bring even more attention to the story and these tabloids. He really has other things to be concerned about than something as stupid as this.

Celebrities are under constant media scrutinity, it's part of being famous, and they cannot answer to every single story or rumour. It's a waste of time and it only gives these tabloids more attention than they deserve.

With someone like him, the tabloid media is looking for every little thing to blow out of proportion because there aren't any scandals surrounding him. It's ridiciulous and will go away.

And as the article stated, Ali and his family are the people he has to answer to.
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Old 11-02-2008, 02:16 PM   #13
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You are free to disagree, last unicorn, and I thank you for disagreeing so politely.


Unfortunately, anyone involved in PR or the media knows the truth of my statement - for Bono or anyone else in the "public eye".



As others here have already stated, unscrupulous media types have picked up on this topic, even in Argentina.

This issue may fade away but the negative impressions that this issue will raise in the minds of those who do not know how friendly Bono can be with people will stay with them for a very long time.


The best defence for Bono would have been a good offense.



That is my opinion on this issue and my final word on it. I have many other things to occupy my time.
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Old 11-02-2008, 02:19 PM   #14
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I agree with Last Unicorn, nothing good comes from constantly stirring the pot, when it comes to this kind of muck raking! The lest said the better, time to move along people, nothing to see here etc.!
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Old 11-02-2008, 02:24 PM   #15
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I agree with Last Unicorn aswell. When you answer to the matter, it stays in the media.
It's the same with bullying. Kids bully others to get a reaction out of them. You get mad, they love it. Now if you don't react to them, ignore them as much as possible, the fun will be gone and they'll either stop bullying or (sadly) find a new target.
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Old 11-02-2008, 02:46 PM   #16
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^ GG, what have you done to that beautiful picture of Bono?

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Old 11-02-2008, 04:36 PM   #17
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those-pics-still-make me feel-uncomfortable
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:37 PM   #18
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I agree with Last Unicorn aswell. When you answer to the matter, it stays in the media.
It's the same with bullying. Kids bully others to get a reaction out of them. You get mad, they love it. Now if you don't react to them, ignore them as much as possible, the fun will be gone and they'll either stop bullying or (sadly) find a new target.


i agree as well. When you address, acknowledge, make a statement about this supposed situation it only adds fuel to the fire and yes keeps it in minds of tabloids. This is just not worth the energy wasted. If you don't directly respond to it, guess what it dies out.
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:58 PM   #19
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Old 11-02-2008, 05:30 PM   #20
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I Bono too!
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