A Footballer, A Call Girl, And A Whole Lot Of Slut-ShamingS

The story of British footballer Wayne Rooney's dalliances with an expensive call girl has everything a truly sordid tabloid tale needs: athletic privilege, slut-shaming, and a whole bunch of racy photos.

For those of you Yanks not in the know, twenty-one-year-old call girl Jenny Thompson says Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney paid her more than $1800 for a series of trysts, including some while his wife Colleen was pregnant with their son. Unlike apology-happy athletes of the Tiger Woods persuasion, Rooney appears relatively unconcerned about the allegations. The Daily Mail reports that he made no effort to keep Thompson from going public, and one source says,

Wayne is not prepared to take any s*** off the wife and her family, not least because they're all living a very nice life off the back of his talent. If she can't handle it and it's over, so be it. Seems he thinks he can pretty much do what the hell he likes because they'd all be nothing without him.

Meanwhile, the Mail is pulling no punches in its coverage of Thompson. A story combining the efforts of no fewer than four reporters (Nick Fagge, James Tozer, Louise Eccles and Claire Ellicott) opens thus:

With a father who is an oil company executive, and a mother who drives a Porsche, the young Jennifer Thompson wanted for nothing.

Brought up in the Gulf state of Qatar, she led a sheltered existence protected by her parents and three brothers.

When the family returned to Britain, the churchgoing teenager was sent to a private school with high expectations for her future career.

See, Thompson was a nice, sheltered (also: white) girl. "So," ask Fagge et al, "what turned the religious young girl into a wannabe WAG happy to sell her body?" They don't really answer that question, though they do provide lots and lots of photos of Thompson in skimpy clothes. And this quote from a so-called friend:

She decided she wanted to become a WAG and started to hang out with Bolton Wanderers players. They were happy to give her their numbers. She became a bit of a joke. They'd say, "Call Jen, she'll give you a good time."

Oh, and Rooney's cousin Natalie is calling him "dirty" and posting to her Facebook, "Other footballers have girls begging to have sex with them. He pays for it. Lost all my respect for him now!" Where to start here? With the staggering entitlement that (if the Mail's source is to be believed) makes Rooney feel his football stardom justifies cheating? With his cousin's insinuation that such cheating is somehow more "dirty" if it happens a sex worker? With the Mail's attempt to titillate its audience with photos of a "good" girl gone bad? With the umpteenth public shaming of a woman for a man's infidelity?

Of course, Thompson was the one who came forward in the first place, and she may have been well aware of how her story of rich-girl-turned-prostitute would play in the press. Maybe she's angling for some Ashley Dupre-style notoriety — an advice column in the Mail, perhaps? Whatever she does next, all the ugly attitudes that have come out around her confession — prostitutes are "dirty," but extra-naughty and hot if they're thin and white and come from privileged backgrounds — probably do the most damage to the many sex workers whose moms don't drive Porsches. These men and women aren't getting their photos plastered across the Mail's website, but they do feel the effects of slut-shaming, and of a culture that sees a man remorselessly cheating on his wife and thinks that "paying for it" is the problem.

Cheating Wayne Rooney Beds Hooker [News of the World]
The Prostitute And The Murder Victim: How Wayne Rooney Call Girl And Her Close Friend Were Seduced — And Destroyed — By WAG Lifestyle [Daily Mail]
Coleen Rooney Shows The Strain As She Emerges For The First Time Since Husband Wayne's Sex Scandal [Daily Mail]
What Turned This Middle-Class Public Schoolgirl Into Wayne Rooney's £1,200-A-Night Escort? [Daily Mail]

Image via Daily Mail.