``How do you start a small business? Give Warwick Fairfax a big one’‘, should be reworked in a PR context in honour of Australia’s pre-eminent spiv, the celebrity publicist Max Markson.

The wrong sort of TV appearance. Markson and Bingle last week. Picture: Ten News

The events of the past few days have demonstrated, in my view, that if you really want to damage your reputation, you should hire Max Markson to defend it.

In a few days, Markson has helped pull off an extraordinary feat in relation to his new client, Lara Bingle. His contributions have only helped to further turn what seems like the entire country against this girl when, less than a week ago, she was enjoying rare public support after being belittled and demeaned by one of the biggest yobbos to grace an Australian sports field.

There’s no polite way to say this, but Bingle seems to be a bit of a ditz who, in the past, has engendered no sympathy.

When she became the face of the Where The Bloody Hell Are You? campaign, The Daily Telegraph tried to interview her about how she felt as a Cronulla girl about projecting a positive image of Australia just months after the race riots that marred that Sydney suburb. Bingle explained she’d been out of the country when the Cronulla riots happened, doing a bit of undie modelling in Italy, and didn’t know about the riots.

Being ignorant isn’t a crime, but the problem Bingle has had is that she has also been portrayed as a home-wrecker in light of her adulterous relationship with married AFL footballer Brendan Fevola, and latterly as a money-obsessed WAG with her fiancé Michael Clarke, flitting about the Sutherland Shire in an Aston Martin and wearing an engagement ring that cost half the price of the average Australian home.

For all this, though, Bingle was the subject of sudden mass sympathy when it emerged that Fevola, punted from Carlton in disgrace last year after repeated acts of boorish public drunkenness, apparently had not only photographed Bingle in the shower against her will while they were together but, in shocking-bloke style, had forwarded the image to mates.

When Bingle announced that she was suing Fevola, the public reaction was _ to borrow from Oprah _ you go, girl. But one week later, the mood is that Bingle should simply just go.

And I think credit for this lies mainly with Markson who, with characteristic immodesty, announced last week that he had been hired by Bingle and was shopping her around town as a $1 million multimedia package that would include exclusive rights to the story of her life with Clarke, fascinating as that would be, and possibly even spin-off into a reality television show.

On Thursday, Markson even resorted to using the social media site Twitter to rev up interest in the proposed sale of Bingle’s story. With customary gravitas, he tweeted: ``Who wouldn’t want a million dollars?’‘

Markson also engineered the Woman’s Day exclusive, reportedly for a three-figure sum, as much as $200,000, for which Bingle would talk about her anguish over what Fevola had done to her.

It seems when Markson realised that, understandably enough, the punters thought Bingle was simply milking the story for all it was worth, it seems he tried to soften her image again by announcing that a portion of the money would be going to some kiddies’ charity. Or whatever.

It was typical PR BS from the man who famously organised Australia’s first wet T-shirt competition. In retrospect, that may have been a career high.

Markson’s confirmation last week that Clarke, our cricket vice-captain, had cut short his New Zealand tour to help Lara ``at this difficult time’‘, served only to reinforce his client’s reputation as high-maintenance, even earning her the new moniker, the Yoko Ono of cricket.

The really sad thing about all this is that I doubt Markson would give a flying metaphor what anyone says or thinks about his client.

I think Markson has shown himself in the past few days to be the moral equivalent of a hedge-fund trader; it doesn’t matter whether a celebrity’s stocks are going up or down, just as long as he’s in on the deal.

If Bingle did pocket $200,000 for her cockamamie story in Woman’s Day, there’s every chance Markson’s cut would have been $20,000: not bad for a few days’ work.

I’m under no illusions about the perception of journalists and journalism. And, as a former editor of The Daily Telegraph, I’m not about to embark on a career as an ethicist.

But one of my favourite moral souvenirs from this period is an email Markson sent to me and our web editor, in relation to a celebrity client who he’d (rightly) accused us of defaming. While publicly attacking our paper and saying his client just wanted the story to go away - which she clearly did - he emailed us three sexy high-resolution jpegs of her, with a cheery note saying that we were free to use these new images in paper and online as we continued our coverage.

Celebrities really need to ask themselves whether they want to be in, or out, of this absurd world. Bingle getting Max to massage her reputation seems to me an extravagance when other people are already trashing it for nothing.

As for Bingle, she now stands in my mind as some kind of new feminist symbol. Well-known disciplinarian Peter Roebuck tut-tutted last week that her behaviour was too unsettled for the future wife of a Test captain.

Former cricket greats lined up to say that, with the blokes away as much as they are, it’s important to have stability at home.

This is utter sexist rubbish from the weird subculture that gave us the expression ``what happens on tour stays on tour’‘. Not all cricketers follow that maxim, but a lot of them do.

And Lara clearly didn’t get the memo saying it’s her lot in life to stay home alone for 10 months a year while her husband wanders the world.

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37 comments

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    • Stefano says:

      02:10pm | 14/03/10

      Apart from the Fevola/nude photo aspect which has legal ramifications, I just can’t see why any of this is news or newsworthy. A cricketer and a bikini model call off their engagement. So what?!

    • marley says:

      06:28pm | 14/03/10

      You got it in one.  Who cares?  A flaky model of limited achievement , a sportsman of some substance in a game that most of the world has never heard of, doesn’t play, and couldn’t care less about, and an agent that has destroyed his client’s long-term marketability.  This is all D list stuff.  Leave it for the tabloids.

    • Dave says:

      10:03am | 15/03/10

      I love people who make the effort to write in….....to tell everybody they don’t care

    • Ben G says:

      03:20pm | 15/03/10

      Marley, Cricket’s the second biggest game on the planet behind Soccer. Are you American? Or is this cultural ignorance something you developed independently?

    • chad says:

      04:55pm | 21/03/10

      omg cricket is so boring, when will it die for god sake.

    • julia says:

      02:32pm | 14/03/10

      She lost me completely when she had to phone Clarke because she’d forgotten to put petrol in the car.

      I loathe stupid women. And she’s on top of my list. Next down is that girl from Home and Away who used to go out with Stokes Jr.

    • George says:

      04:07pm | 14/03/10

      Bingle and Yoko were different. For one thing, Yoko could sing. As far as Max Markson goes, he can now safely engineer the overdue Aussie remake of Minder without any encumbrance. Maybe he could redefine irony and cast Fev somehow. Funny ol’ world innit?

    • Ringo says:

      07:53pm | 14/03/10

      Oh c’mon George! We both know Yoko can’t sing.
      Cheers, Ringo

    • BTS says:

      08:56pm | 14/03/10

      Yoko could sing???

    • Fade to black says:

      04:42pm | 14/03/10

      Things Bogans Like covered Markson “x-tremely” well a few days ago: http://thingsboganslike.wordpress.com/2010/03/11/103-max-markson/

      It’s very little wonder that only a few days after signing with Markson that this “scandal” broke out. Looks like Marskon engineering some headlines.

      In the space of very little time Bingle went from a barely employed “model” with a meal-ticket as a WAG to losing her WAG status and will now have to flog her story to anyone that will pay.

      Such a fall from grace that I’m betting she’s regretting that decision to sign with Markson. It’s game over for her.

    • Fog Badger says:

      05:35pm | 14/03/10

      Don’t know how she expected to become famous and adored with the name “Bingle”.

    • Zeta says:

      05:57pm | 14/03/10

      I heard an interesting story last night, and like all yarns shared on the turps its veracity shouldn’t be otherstated: apparently Bingle and Clarke have been in the process of breaking up since January, but they agreed to keep up the appearance of being together until March, when one of their joint sponsorship contracts run out.

    • Mark says:

      06:00pm | 14/03/10

      There should be no sympathy for either or them.

      She:
      1. An airhead who really has not amounted to a great deal.
      2. Knew Fevola had the photo. She’s looking right at the camera! And it’s taken this long for it to become an issue, so please spare me the who sob “I felt violated” story.
      3. One of the first thing she did was hook up with Markson. Now that is not the action of someone who’s just been dumped by someone they care about.
      4. Her family are looking for money to tell their story. They’re not much better then the Cordy family.

      He:
      1. Cmon, the whole country knew of her reputation.

    • Brett L says:

      06:18pm | 14/03/10

      For me at least I take great enjoyment to hear of the pitfalls of the rich and flamboyant.
      Those who prance around with all the bling in upmarket nighclubs, fashionistas. I hate them, so I love to hear their stories of bad luck.
      Bingle was the example of what I hate in these people.
      I love watching ODI cricket but I can never think the same of Clark.

    • iansand says:

      06:27pm | 14/03/10

      My theory is that Markson’s real client is Michael Clarke, who has come out of this looking pretty good.  SNAG for coming home.  Good bloke for ditching the ditz.

      Or it could be the plumber.

    • nic says:

      08:28pm | 14/03/10

      “Well-known disciplinarian Peter Roebuck”. Ha, comment of the week.

    • BTS says:

      09:22pm | 14/03/10

      I wonder if Markson has thought about what he is doing to his own career?

    • Aitch B says:

      05:20am | 15/03/10

      @George

      Yoko could sing??? Surely you jest….....

    • Bobbie says:

      06:39am | 15/03/10

      It’s a pity that Fevola seems to have been allowed to walk away from this…  hello? Anyone remember him?

    • KW says:

      12:02pm | 15/03/10

      That’s because people are starting to think he has nothing to do with the whole thing (although some of us came to that thought much sooner than today).  So he took a photo - big deal - it was 3 years ago. Have a look at myspace or facebook - there are many more embarrassing photos there -  you can’t even see anything in the photo that started all of this - she shows more quite happily if someone waves some cash around. The question is, how did it suddenly show up now?  Coincidentally a week after Bungle or whatever her name is signed up with ‘PR’ person Markson?  While she has been trying to sell herself as a ‘fashion designer’/‘reality TV star’/D list celebrity? Then she made an enormous amount of money from it?  How fast can you earn $200K?  What exactly would Fevola gain out of it?

      This is the soap opera you would expect to see when a talentless woman of limited intellect claws everything around her for the kind of cheap and nasty fame that most people wouldn’t touch with a ten foot barge pole.  I heard Peter Andre became single recently.  Quick - someone text her his number….......

    • Fog Badger says:

      04:07pm | 15/03/10

      Good call, KW! @ 0102pm on 15/3

      A very unpleasant and scratchy mess, indeed.

    • G says:

      07:12am | 15/03/10

      David, I believe publicity agents fees are nearer 30%, perhaps more for ditzy clients…

    • Adam says:

      08:13am | 15/03/10

      Why has the rag that published the photo, albeit pixelated, escaped the torent of wasted words in all this? They, as much as the rock ape who took the photo, are at fault surely. Or is it not the done thing to take people in the indusrty to task

    • kirsten says:

      08:37am | 15/03/10

      GREAT ARTICLE! Any possibility Markson was the one who organized the nude photo story of her in Woman’s Day which started this whole mess? Trying to get a scandal going which would kick start her reality TV career (which she would need for income if she and Clark were splitting in March)?

      Dismal, I do feel sorry for her, but she should get herself a real job like everyone else.

    • H of SA says:

      09:03am | 15/03/10

      Point of order Penbo, apparently its Markson! (tm) not just Markson…..ah taste, I remember when people had you….

    • Nat. says:

      09:55am | 15/03/10

      All Max is interested is to make money, he doesnt care about Lara or anyone for that matter. Lara is young ,stupid,naive and need a lot to learn how to live she needs experience and education,something you don’t get in nightclub or plastic smile.
      As for Clark I hope he will stay away from Max and alike.
      If one person learned a lesson from this mess that’s good,the main thing is that no person was physically hurt.
      They and we have to put this to rest and get on with our lives.
      OK, off to work I go.

    • Paula says:

      10:46am | 15/03/10

      The “News of the Screws - sorry World” type of ‘let’s sue them let’s grab some cash for some poxy so called PR for ya Lara” (PR! HA what an embarrassment to the industry) may work in ol Blighty Markson but here in Oz it’s just all a bit embarrassing for everyone!

    • Dani says:

      11:23am | 15/03/10

      Exactly what i’ve been thinking! How coincidental this all started right at the time of appointing new management.

    • Elizabeth says:

      12:23pm | 15/03/10

      Fantastic Article. I feel sorry for her - she is only 22 and has made mistakes ... Haven’t we all?

    • Gregory says:

      01:37pm | 15/03/10

      “she was enjoying rare public support after being belittled and demeaned by one of the biggest yobbos to grace an Australian sports field. ” When did this happen, both the rare public support, and being belittled and demeaned by one of the biggest yobbos? Who is this referring to? Michael Clarke? Since when has he been seen as one of the biggest yobbos? As Ricky Gervais would say “You’re talking shit!”

    • Bitten says:

      10:55pm | 15/03/10

      I think the yobbo reference was in regards to Fevola.

    • Peter says:

      02:17pm | 15/03/10

      Interesting. I head Bingle alerted her agent in April last year that a photo like that existed and aparantly she showed him a copy of it. Where did Lara get her copy from? I thought only Fevola had it…

    • Steve says:

      02:23pm | 15/03/10

      Hi Dave, great article! Everyone keeps saying the 200k she got for the Womans Day interview is alot of money…but with her lifestile its probably like 2k to the rest of us…coincidence the Aston Martin is for sale??...think she is going to be very desperate for money very soon!

    • jimmy pavlovic says:

      02:24pm | 15/03/10

      If this story is worth a 1 million package & please a Bingle t.v show I’d rather watch Humphrie on t.v stand there without any pants on & say nothing he would still be far more enjoyable to watch then Bingle.

    • Sean H says:

      02:50pm | 26/03/10

      sorry I missed this almost 2 weeks ago. Nice job Penbo. Like it.

    • Go go girl says:

      03:06am | 31/03/10

      Good article. You’re right on with everything… except the $20,000 pocketed by Markson.  He actually takes 20%, not the usual 10… which means he would have pocketed $40,000.

    • cheap oem software says:

      09:52am | 19/08/12

      GHNUl5 Very informative article.Much thanks again. Really Great.

 

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