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Adult Industry Tycoon Fires Theater Critic After Nude Pics From Two Decades Ago Surface

Mark Shenton has been the Sunday Express critic for more than 11 years.“Don’t pose for that photo,” they said. “It could affect your life and job years from now when you least expect it,” they said.

Mark Shenton (pictured), chief theater critic for U.K.’s Sunday Express, learned the hard way this week how those unsavory photos you posed for can come back to haunt you. The 51-year-old writer has worked for the paper since 2002, but was fired this week after nude images of himself were discovered on a gay paysite, reports The Guardian.

Just one problem: Shenton didn’t post the images online himself. In fact, he believes they were taken 22 years ago and remained safe in the hands of “a friend in San Francisco” ever since. In a blog post for The Stage, Shenton confirmed that the photos were of himself and were “entirely legal” albeit “private and personal.”

“[The photos were taken] long before I either worked for the paper or the internet had come of age,” he said, “so I never expected them to turn up on a website that didn’t exist then – or to find it still live now!”

You want the kicker now? The Express is owned by publisher Richard Desmond, a British billionaire who made his initial fortune in and still profits from the sale of straight pornography. His heavy interest in pornography even landed him in hot water back in 2005, when the Gambino crime family scammed him out of more than $650 million and threatened his life.

But that’s straight porn business, and the images depicting Mr. Shenton were clearly gay in nature. The paper’s editor Martin Townsend referred to them  as “embarrassing” in front of the head of Human Resources.

Shenton writes:

It is, of course, the prerogative of a newspaper editor to choose his own writers but there is a certain irony that a newspaper, now owned by proprietor Richard Desmond whose business interests once included the publication of Penthouse in the UK and Asian Babes – and which he continued to publish long after he acquired the Express group in 2000, until he sold the adult magazine business in 2004 – should be so affronted. (The company continues to own and operate Television X, a series of subscription adult television channels) It could be said that the only difference is that these are straight magazines and channels, whereas mine was defined as a gay one.

The Express, of course, maintains that Shenton was fired for “bringing the newspaper into disrepute because naked pictures of him were discovered.”

By:           Matthew Tharrett
On:           Dec 5, 2013
Tagged: , , , , ,
  • 16 Comments
    • Geeker
      Geeker

      Where’s the link to the pictures?

      Dec 5, 2013 at 9:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eldred
      Eldred

      Yeah, I’m going to need to see these pictures.

      Dec 5, 2013 at 9:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kangol
      Kangol

      This is really awful. Mr. Shenton like many may have done things when he was younger, but they were not illegal and should not haunt him in 2013. That Desmond, a porn purveyor, is presiding over this, is the height of hypocrisy. (Lots of alliteration, sorry.)

      AND The Guardian is supposed to be a liberal/progressive paper, but this response sounds positively Puritanical/Victorian (I know those are very distinct concepts, but the Guardian’s behavior merges the worst of both). Craptastic.

      Dec 5, 2013 at 9:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kangol
      Kangol

      Wait–the Sunday Express is not part of the Guardian, is it? The article above is a bit confusing.

      Dec 5, 2013 at 9:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • celuur
      celuur

      The Sunday Express is part of the Daily Express newspaper; the Guardian is not in any way related to the Sunday Express. The Guardian is not a property of Express Newspapers, but the Sunday Express is.

      Dec 5, 2013 at 11:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dazzer
      dazzer

      The Guardian has nothing to do with the Express or Richard Desmond. The Guardian is owned by a ‘trust’ which allows it to be independent and objective. The Daily Express is owned by Desmond, who is a shit of the first order. There’s no connection between the two newspapers – except that The Guardian will call the Express an arsewipe owned by Desmond, and the Express won’t.

      Dec 5, 2013 at 11:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DShucking
      DShucking

      I’m confused. Why would an adult film industry tycoon fire someone for nude photos?

      Dec 5, 2013 at 11:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jimbryant
      jimbryant

      Adult industry tycoons think that two women is hot but two men is gross. The adult industry is known for this double standard.

      Dec 6, 2013 at 12:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Nixter
      Nixter

      Straight porn hypocrites. Disgusting.

      Dec 6, 2013 at 1:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • cyberdoogi
      cyberdoogi

      What is interesting is, that attitude, a British gay lifestyle magazine was started in 1994 by Richard Desmond’s Northern and Shell publishing group! So it’s not as if his organisation hadn’t dabbled in gay publishing!

      Dec 6, 2013 at 11:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ottoman
      Ottoman

      In another 20 years so many people will have identifiable nude selfies out there this will be a nonissue.

      Dec 6, 2013 at 12:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jimstoic
      jimstoic

      A gay theater critic? SHOCKING!

      Dec 6, 2013 at 1:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alterego1980
      alterego1980

      @Ottoman: So true. Almost every stupid (and smart but horny) teen is taking selfies and “sexting”. Plenty of those will still be floating around when these people grow into important areas of the workforce and entertainment.

      Dec 6, 2013 at 4:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jimbryant
      jimbryant

      Let’s expose Richard Desmond on public forums.

      Dec 6, 2013 at 5:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GeriHew
      GeriHew

      Well clearly Mr Shenton isn’t that good at research because his former employers own and operate a gay porn business.

      Portland TV, the Northern & Shell subsidiary which owns and operates Television X & Redhot TV also own and operate:

      Gay TV | Welcome
      http://www.hardontv.com/
      Gay TV offers you the broadest variety of Hardcore British Gay Porn on the web.

      Dec 7, 2013 at 6:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the other Greg
      the other Greg

      I’m amazed that it’s even possible to bring the Sunday Express into “disrepute.”

      Maybe he can work at the New York Post?

      Dec 7, 2013 at 11:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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