Sarah Symonds describes how she escaped Max Clifford. Fortunately she was not introduced to Cliffords best friend Steve Less the owner of Secrets chain of all nude strip clubs.
Max Clifford by Sarah Symonds
I will never forget the first appointment I had with Max Clifford, the
esteemed Publicist of Simon Cowell, and many other huge names. It was
April 2008, and as soon as I sat down in the leather chair in his
office, he blurted out, “I was an adulterer all through my marriage.
I’ve had tons of affairs.” He then opened the top left hand drawer of
his desk and pulled out a picture of a woman, whom he proudly told me
was his wife. The woman in the picture was shockingly naked and in the
throes of having sex with a black man. I was very confused and disturbed
by what I saw, especially as I'd read his wife had died of cancer a few
years earlier, but that was nothing to what was to come.
He went on to explain, very proudly, that the photo I was looking at of
his now-deceased wife having sex with a stranger, was taken years ago,
and was something he had personally arranged. He'd set that situation
up, and many more, and, he had taken the photo himself. He said he often
arranged for men to have sex with his wife while they were away on
holiday, and told me how he would sit in the closet in the hotel suite,
positioned perfectly to take such photos as that one. He boasted how he
would arrange for the men to approach her while she was on her own, and
pay them to do so. And although he would have made an excuse for an
afternoon playing golf etc, really he would be in situ, in their hotel
room, waiting to watch. He also told me that his wife had never known he
had set these men up for her, compassionately adding, “she went to her
grave thinking she had attracted them herself,” never thinking her
husband knew anything of her extra marital activity, let alone that he was the one instigating it and paying for it.
By now my head was spinning. I didn’t know whether to feel flattered
that he was confiding this information so soon after meeting me, or
completely grossed out at how he disgusting he was. But, I needed him. I
was there to see if he would represent the company I was visiting him
on behalf of, and also to ask if he thought my book had any chance in
the UK market. I had already done well with it in the States, and been
on the Oprah Show etc.
He went on to tell me more disgusting pieces of information about his
married life, and then he moved on to his then current girlfriend Jo,
now his second wife. He said that whilst she was “a lovely woman” she
didn’t like the same things sexually that he did, and so he had to take
care of his cravings elsewhere. I asked him how he never ‘got caught’,
and he replied, “You will never read anything negative about me, the
press need me too much. I have them in the palm of my hand” And he
pointed to various framed front-page stories he had brokered for
numerous people. He also told me all about Rebecca Loos and her story
with David Beckham, and how it was completely true etc. I was blown
away by what I was hearing, and disappointed that the family man, caring
image he put across in the media, was all just a sham.
With our meeting drawing to a close, he finally told me his fees for his
PR services, a whopping 15k per month (boasting that Simon Cowell paid
him 250k a year to "manipulate the press for him.") I was flabbergasted.
I knew I couldn’t pay that, and I doubted the Canadian company I
was working for would, but, that was the info I had gone there for.
Then, Max did something else. He propositioned me there and then in his
office. He told me how we could have some fun together and that “we
could look after each other.” He also went on to tell me that if the
company would agree to his fees, then he would help me - and promote my
book - on the side, for free. I realize now, in hindsight, he was
He then gave me his mobile number, and I gave him mine, and as I was
about to leave, he told me to meet him in the office toilets just past
the main reception area, so that “he could have a feel.” I was far too
nervous to do so. I felt all eyes were on me as I walked past his harem
of women receptionists and secretaries (interesting how there were NO
men on reflection). As I left the building I got a text, “Where were
you, I went to the toilets but you weren’t there.” We arranged for me to
go back to his office for a follow up meeting two days later. That next
time, I would not escape the toilet invitation so easily.