Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Travels With Loreena McKennitt - by Niema Ash

The story behind this book is a good one. Niema Ash was Loreena McKennits assistant and confidant for many years. This book however broke up the friendship, and landed up in court, if fact it made it all the way to the House Of Lords (the brit version of the US Supreme Court). In the end the book was pulled from publication, and all copies destroyed. Well not quite all copies, there is one in the British Library, and they refuse to relinquish it.

And there is one sitting on my kitchen table! Mine is even signed by the author!

So what was the furor about? Loreena felt that her privacy had been violated, particularly the sections describing the death of her fiance.

The book also goes into some detail about Loreena McKennitt's management style, which is at odds with the Celtic Goddess image that she likes to portray in public.

Personally I did not find the revelations particularly shocking, but I did find the court case to be of great significance. Most people agree that McKennitt would not have prevailed had the case been heard in the US, but the UK system works a little different.

The shocking part of this case was that the facts stated in the book were not called into question. Everything Niema Ash claimed, stands as true. McKennitt merely objected to the publication!

This creates a very murky precedent, that should have every news organization very worried.

Want a copy? Well I found one for sale.

3 comments:

LMcKennitt said...

Dear Simon,

In future, you may wish to spend a bit of time reading the judgment of this case so you don’t come off looking quite so foolish.

Of the many matters I challenged in Ms Ash’s book , the most interesting was with respect to a property dispute. Central to Ms Ash’s “story” and her public interest defense, it was discovered that Ms Ash had “beefed up” 8 witness statements in order to establish a false case against me upon which she would breach my privacy and leverage my reputation through media interest.

In other words, the "story" Ms Ash wished to propagate in her book was found in the trial to be a lie.

Needless to say, her public interest defense failed. Justice Eady speaks to this fabrication of the truth in para 106 to 128 of his judgment.

The trial and appeal judgments can be viewed at: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2005/3003.html
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2006/778.html

In future, if you are encouraging your readers to take up works of fiction or selling your own copies, you might take a bit more care in ensuring they got better value.

Loreena McKennitt

Alex Herbert said...

Kudos, Loreena! I have to say, you were right in your actions. There is definitely a fine line between "freedom of the press" and sheer, unadulterated nosiness and invasion of privacy. Ash overstepped that boundary by a lot; from about California to Kansas. I bet she would've done the same exact thing if she were in your shoes.

Alex Herbert said...

Kudos, Loreena! I have to say, you were right in your actions. There is definitely a fine line between "freedom of the press" and sheer, unadulterated nosiness and invasion of privacy. Ash overstepped that boundary by a lot; from about California to Kansas. I bet she would've done the same exact thing if she were in your shoes. And, I remember reading somewhare that, in certain parts of the book, the truth was stretched like a giant rubber band. So, even anyone automatically biased one way as opposed to another can't really blame you for feeling that way.