Is it because I am a woman Rebekah Brooks complains about sexist questioning as outfit gets her compared to Salem witch
17:40 GMT, 11 May 2012
With her forthright manner and naked ambition, she has risen to the top in a male-dominated world.
And as she took to the stand at the Leveson Inquiry today, Rebekah Brooks revealed a flash of that take-no-prisoners attitude that has made her a match for her male rivals.
The former News International executive showed her feisty side as she took exception at what she deemed to be the sexist and 'trivial' line of questioning at today's inquest, and criticised the media for its level of interest in her personal life – in particular their focus on her relationship with Rupert Murdoch.
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'Sexist': Rebekah Brooks complained about the personal nature of the questions she was asked at today's Leveson Inquiry, saying that if she were a 'grumpy old man of Fleet Street' she would be treated differently
Witch-hunt: Rebekah's pie-crust collar earned her comparisons with the Salem witches
'You have put to me quite a few
gossipy items, for want of a better word: my personal alchemy; did
Rupert Murdoch and I swim; where did I get the horse from; did Mr
Murdoch buy me a suit; the list is endless,' she complained.
'I do feel that is merely a systematic
issue that I think a lot of it is gender-based – if I was a grumpy old
man of Fleet Street no one would write a first thing about it.'
Ms Brooks, 43, became chief executive of Mr Murdoch's UK newspapers division News International in September 2009 until she resigned in the wake of the hacking scandal last July.
She said during her appearance today that a lot of trivial questions had been put to her – and in her evidence she was forced to quash a rumour that the pair used to swim together when Mr Murdoch was in London.
She also denied that, after she was arrested in 2005 over an alleged assault on her then-husband, Mr Murdoch sent an outfit to the police station where she was being held.
The complaints will illicit little sympathy from those of the opinion that Ms Brooks is the last to have suffered because of her gender – and from those who feel she is in no place to complain abuot her treatment by the media.
Indeed, far from extending sympathy, online commentators only offered an amusing critique of Ms Brooks' appearance on the stand – mainly thanks to her choice of outfit.
Notorious political blogger Guido Fawkes noted that Ms Brooks' outfit, a dour, high-necked dress, was reminiscent of those worn by the accused at the 17th century Salem witch trials.
Puritanical: Notorious political blogger Guido Fawkes (www.order-order.com, published by Global & General Nominees Limited) said Rebekah Brooks had gone
for 'Salem Show Trial chic' for her turn on the stand today
The puritanical dress, with its dark
colour and Peter Pan collar was no doubt chosen by Ms Brooks in the
hopes it would convey innocence and humility.
The sharp media expert would have been fully aware that the world's eyes were upon her – and, in time-honoured fashion, the outfit she chose for her public appearance.
And given her shrewd nature, we can assume she chose the Peter Pan collar for its associations with innocence.
The style has turned up time and time again in celebrity court hearings, with Winona Ryder wearing a Peter Pan dress for her shoplifting trial, and Bianca Jagger choosing the style for her 1980 court appearance.
But for all her astuteness, little did Brooks know her attempt at innocence would instead see her compared to the victims of one of the world's most notorious witch-hunts.
Others had their own opinions on Ms
Brooks' outfit, with Dr Christian Jessen tweeting 'Rebekah Brooks
trying to look like Little Orphan Annie at the Leveson enquiry. Not
cutting the mustard with me love!'
Graham Norton had his own thoughts along the same lines, tweeting: 'Rebekah Brooks. We get it. You have lots of curly red hair, but wearing Orphan Annie's dress to the Leveson hearing Seriously'
The dress in question was the 475 Marcie Peter Pan from Suzannah boutique, and was the same style worn by Pippa Middleton back in 2011.
LIZ JONES FASHION VERDICT: SHE MAY AS WELL HAVE WORN A NUN'S HABIT
'Passive aggressive sign of purity': Liz Jones believes Rebekah Brooks has a lot to hide
What can we tell about Rebekah Brooks from her wardrobe choice
She might as well have put on a nun's habit. The demure Peter Pan collar and white cuffs are a passive aggressive sign of purity.
This outfit reminds me of the cream Azzedine Alaia cardigan and matching dress worn by Naomi Campbell when she too was called to account, in the Blood Diamonds trial.
While Naomi, who has frequently modelled topless, wanted to rewrite history, Brooks wants us to believe she is not and never has been powerful.
A Peter Pan collar should only be seen on little girls, not superwomen. I'd have had more respect had she turned up in low-cut leopard print.
Brooks has never been stylish, despite her high salary.
This dress, which is very Chanelesque, is too Baby Jane for my taste. I wish she would tie her hair back, too. It tells me she has an awful lot to hide.
Rebekah Brooks complained about the personal nature of the questions
she was asked at today's Leveson Inquiry, saying that if she were a
'grumpy old man of Fleet Street' she would be treated differently
Dour: Ms Brooks' high-necked dress with its Peter Pan collar was likely chosen to convey innocence and humility
Unfair: Mrs Brooks, pictured with Rupert Murdoch complained today that the media had focused on her
private relationship with Murdoch, something she says occurred simply
because she is a woman