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TOPLESS

French mag snapped Kate with Irish snapper

French glossy Closer commissioned an Irish photographer to take the topless shots of Prince William's wife Catherine and can make a fortune selling them, celebrity photographer Pascal Rostain said Friday.

French mag snapped Kate with Irish snapper
Photo: Koshy Koshy

Rostain, who has several scoops to his credit, told AFP that when a magazine "commissions a photographer or an agency … the price is fixed in advance, it can be €1,000 ($1,300) for every working day plus expenses and a few thousand euros for the snaps."

Roussin said if they had not been commissioned they could have been offered by the photographer to different celebrity magazines and sold "for a few hundred thousand euros."

About the identity of the snapper, he said: "In our small paparazzi world, we know who it is but obviously don't say anything.

"I can just say it is an Irish national who lives in the south of France," he said of the photographer, dubbed by one British tabloid daily 'Le Rat'."

He also slammed the British media outrage as hypocritical, saying that British papers had published nude photographs of French former first lady Carla Bruni on the eve of a state visit she and her husband Nicolas Sarkozy made to Britain early last year.

The photographs dated to the days when she was a supermodel.

After their debut in the French glossy last weekend, the photos of the British Duchess have appeared in magazines in Denmark and Sweden, Ireland's Daily Star and Italy's Chi, which like Closer is owned by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's Mondari media group.

The pictures have reportedly incensed Prince William, who with his wife learned of their impending publication while on an Asia-Pacific tour to mark his grandmother Queen Elizabeth's diamond jubilee.

The royal family's lawyers have obtained a civil injunction and sought criminal charges in Paris, including against the unidentified photographer, in a bid to curb the spread of the pictures.

French legal authorities on Tuesday banned Closer from any further distribution of the pictures and began a criminal probe into how they were obtained.

The court also ordered the magazine to hand over the files with the images to the royal couple, which the publication did on Wednesday.

Closer has said it does not own the images and simply bought them for exclusive first use, so it likely does not possess all the original files. It has refused to say from whom it bought them and who the photographer is.

The French court also banned Closer from reselling the pictures or reusing them in print or on its website.

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LAW

France’s Interior Minister defends ‘precious’ right of women to go topless

France's interior minister on Tuesday defended the right of women to sunbathe topless on beaches, after a police warning for a group who stripped off on the southern coast sparked a social media outcry.

France's Interior Minister defends 'precious' right of women to go topless
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin. Photo: AFP

French gendarmes patrolling a beach in Mediterranean seaside town Sainte-Marie-la-Mer last week asked a group of topless sunbathers to cover up in response to a complaint from a family, the local gendarmerie said in a statement on Facebook.

It acknowledged their actions had been “clumsy” but said the officers aimed wanted only to calm the situation, insisting there had been no official order to ban topless sunbathing in the town.

The mairie of Sainte-Marie-la-Mer also issued a statement clarifying that there is nothing to prevent topless sunbathing on its beaches, adding that it was “very attached to the republican principles of liberty”.

READ ALSO What are the rules around going topless or nude in France?

 

But the case prompted an avalanche of criticsm on social media, with #seinsnus (topless) trending on Twitter in France.

“Is Sainte-Marie-la-Mer now Saudi Arabia?” wondered one user, while others slammed a creeping “prudishness” in France.

“It was wrong that the women were warned about their clothing,” Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin wrote on Twitter.

“Freedom is something precious. And it is normal that officials can admit their mistakes.”

 

“You will always see me in uniform,” the spokeswoman of the French gendarmerie Maddy Scheurer wrote on Twitter, adding a smiling emoji.

“But topless sunbathing is allowed on the beach at Sainte-Marie-la-Mer. It was clumsiness by two gendarmes who had the best intentions.”

Topless sunbathing in France is legally not considered to be sexual exhibitionism although it can be halted by local directives outlawing certain styles of dress.

But far from everyone in France takes their tops off on the beach these days and topless sunbathing has become less popular in recent years.

Surveys show that younger women are increasingly concerned about sexual harassment and body shaming on the beach.

Less than 20 percent of French women aged under 50 now sunbathe topless, compared with 28 percent 10 years ago and 43 percent in 1984, according to a recent survey by pollster Ifop of over 5,000 Europeans including 1,000 French.

This makes the French less willing to bathe topless than some other Europeans, with almost half of Spanish women saying they bathe topless and 34 percent of Germans.

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