Brooke Magnanti, the research scientist/former sex worker behind Belle de Jour, is being sued for defamation by an ex-lover, who’s pursuing damages for defamation and breach of privacy, and wondering (quite vociferously) out loud to anyone who will listen, i.e. the Mail, if Magnanti ever really was a sex worker.
That’s a pretty bold suggestion considering that Magnanti has, since her blog’s run in 2003, turned her experiences as a sex worker into a best-selling book and a sequel before finally outing herself to the Times of London back in 2009. In that revelatory interview, Magnanti explained that she took up prostitution as a way to earn some quick money as she was finishing up her Ph.D., and that Belle de Jour was a way of openly acknowledging that period in her life.
Owen Morris, a 38-year-old former Royal Air Force Pilot, was apparently part of that former life, and has recently claimed that he was identified as “The Boy” when Magnanti finally outed herself, and that he and Magnanti were dating during the first half of 2004, the period of time her first book supposedly covers.
More from the Guardian:
Morris claims he was identified as "The Boy" when Magnanti outed herself in the media and says the blog, which depicted the life of a London sex worker, was first written while Magnanti was a PhD student in Sheffield, and that during the first half of 2004, a period covered in the first book, she had a job and relationship with him rather than being single and unemployed as portrayed. He also claims Magnanti fabricated "clients" and characters in her books by writing about her sex life and relationship with him.
Morris now claims that the Belle de Jour outing destroyed his life, costing him a job and his privacy. Meanwhile, Magnanti, who’s now married and living in the Scottish Highlands, has told her blog’s faithful visitors that Morris’s claims represent merely some funhouse mirror version of a reality he once experienced: as evidence of her sex work (and of Morris’s knowledge of her sex work), she’ll be presenting a notebook she kept about her appointments, along with her bank records from 2003-04 showing the money she made as an escort. So there, haterzzz.