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29 May 2010
Zoe Margolis & Brooke Magnanti: spot the difference
It is easy to confuse Zoe Margolis with Brooke Magnanti. Both are 30-something Jewish girls who have had more pricks than a pincushion and then went on to make a fortune writing about their horizontal experiences. Both tried to remain anonymous and both were outed by newspapers - yes, it is easy to confuse them. The fact that one charged hard cash for her favours and the other had joined the All-England Free Fucking Team didn't seem to be important, at least until March of this year when it suddenly became very important indeed.

That was when Zoe wrote a story for the Independent. Now newspapers don't employ sub-editors anymore so this piece was probably subbed by whoever was hanging around the office, and you can imagine the thought process at work: was Zoe the one on the knock or did she give her favours for free? The hack couldn't remember, so took a guess and called the piece "I'm a hooker who became an agony aunt," whereupon all hell proceeded to break loose because he had guessed wrong.

Zoe quite rightly got in touch with the paper and the headline was changed to the more accurate "I'm a good-time girl who became an agony aunt," and later on an apology was printed. Given that this was an honest mistake with no malice involved you would think that honour was thus satisfied, but that was not the case because Zoe then decided to sue the Indy for libel. The paper did not have a leg to stand on and has agreed to pay out a massive sum to la Margolis.

The problem is that by taking the matter to court all Zoe has done is start the process of losing all the public sympathy that she had when the Indy made its mistake. She is starting to come over as a grasping little trollop, instead of the girl with an easy virtue that many young men fantasised over. If that grasping image becomes fixed in the public mind it may damage future book sales. A short term solution to gain money could mean that she loses out in the long run.



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