In 2008, as most readers will know, I was “exposed” as a sex worker.
At the time, I was 23.
I was doing it as a bit of a random 23 year old social experiment (prostitution is legal and I paid tax on my earnings and I tend to do things without thinking about them or because I find them interesting).
I was working under an assumed name and have not, and did not see myself as any sort of sexuality promoter or “for” or “against” anything.
I still have a fairly libertarian “live and let live” attitude to things including sexuality, although this is not a blog on that (there is lots of excellent writing elsewhere).
I was aware there had been a substantial amount of media coverage about me when a child, but that had been led by my mentally ill father (and related to events that happened when I was 13?!)
(Anyway, I was certainly not a public figure promoting conservative morality, or the opposite).
A man called Keith Gladdis came and posed as/was a client.
He said I was beautiful, and asked me to strip for him and dance on the bed.
He took deep, deep breaths as he watched me (his laptop bag on his lap)
That Saturday night (chosen, I believe, so I could not access legal advice), someone accosted me on my way to the supermarket. I evaded her.
I returned to my building, and several NOTW employees (or agency press they had recruited) were parked outside, watching the entrance of the building I was in to make sure I couldn’t leave easily.
The buzzer went off about twenty times.
My phone rang with messages, most of which appeared to be from NOTW journalists, asking me to come out.
Eventually, the journalist was at my door, knocking and shouting as loudly as she could “footage was out there” . She implied that it would be sent out and made public if I didn’t co-operate with them.
(what she meant by “footage” was the footage she knew had been taken by her colleague, Keith Gladdis).
This is the basis behind the interview and photos with the News of the World in 2008 –they did their best to write it up as if it was “my idea” to do it – not that I’d been stalked, blackmailed, and manipulated.
Fast forward to today.
After an emotionally difficult (but very fulfilling – I look back at the memories with pleasure and will enjoy the good fight now- I used the NOTW money to spend independent thinking and artsy time) few years I moved onto writing and composing this blog.
In need of some answers, and (the fear of the hatred I experienced in 2008 still exists, but I believe we must work through our fears) in a slightly stronger social position I rang up Keith Gladdis.
(who has been active on social media saying how proud he was of his work at the News of the World).
Rather bizarrely, he tried to imply that he himself hadn’t taken the footage?
(perhaps he doesn’t want anyone thinking he’s a perve? perhaps he doesn’t want to admit to himself?).
He claimed that no-one should be allowed to call him out on his actions, and I should delete anything I had ever written about the incident because he has children and talking to him will upset his children as they regularly Google themselves (?)
He also claimed I should delete anything I had written about the incident because it was “unfair to his wife”.
Calmly, I offered him full opportunity to state his point of view.
I questioned him as best I could.
Before he secretly filmed me, someone had e-mailed me asking to supply cocaine – I ignored it.
I believe it was Keith Gladdis, and it followed the modus operandi of the News of the World, pushing/planting drugs onto people and then getting them arrested in order to create a story: I tracked down the IP address and it came from a University of Manchester location.
I asked him on the phone.
Keith’s mask slipped for a moment. I heard a flash of emotion for the first time
“My mother works at the University of Manchester and is elderly, the police protect my mother!”
(I am not a specialist in corruption – which is what this sounds like – so will have to pass the info to another writer).
I was, however, intrigued by Keith bringing up his mother (without me even knowing she existed).
As an enthusiastic feminist writer who has been led to the debate on family relationships, I felt heartened and enthusiastic to find out more.
After the News of the World closed down in 2008 (due to interfering in the investigation relating to a murdered child in order to “get the story”) Keith Gladdis’ mother Patricia “Trish” Gladdis was keen to defend and support the newspaper.
She started up a Facebook support group to “celebrate” the News of the World.
The Daily Mail, Keith’s current paper, claims its driving force is FAMILY VALUES and MOTHERS.
I absolute agree with the Daily Mail on this occasion: the key to Keith Gladdis’s behaviour lies in Trish Gladdis.
A male acquaintance of Caroline Gladdis (Keith Gladdis’s wife, Trish Gladdis’s daughter-in-law) agreed to talk to me on condition of anonymity.
He described Trish as “domineering” and “socially climbing” and resentful of her long-term husband Bob Gladdis.
Trish Gladdis hails from a working class background which she is desperate to escape.
Personally I find it very hard to understand this with my socialist/feminist leanings – I’m very poor and I reckon if you’re fairly cultured and intellectually challenged and have an independent life
and are quite hot and cool it is nothing to give that much thought to?
But it would seem Trish Gladdis felt disappointed her fairly passive, indolent husband did not provide her with the means to enter the middle class.
(again I don’t understand this – we only get one life, why not spend it experiencing interesting stuff rather than “social climbing” for the benefit of others?)
She married for respectability, knowing her husband was the kind of guy who would “never leave her” (because no other woman wanted him).
Trish Gladdis saw her son Keith as a husband substitute: a “man” to replace her husband.
She describes him as a “hero” who “works with the police and soldiers to fight crime” and “looks after his Mummy”.
(in our conversations, Keith seemed keen to imply Trish Gladdis is an academic working at the University of Manchester – she is in fact an administrator at Manchester Metropolitan University).
Coming from a difficult family background myself, I myself couldn’t help being touched by Trish’s Facebook tribute to her son: a desperation to convince herself her little boy was really a “hero” to be proud of.
She had given up on her husband: why should the world take away her emotions regarding her son?
More pragmatically: boys with domineering mothers never turn into men with a strong sense of identity.
They are their mothers mouthpieces.
This, perhaps, explains Keith Gladdis’s somewhat three-sided persona .
On one hand, he seems to see himself as a affable, blokey, Perfect Gentleman: Keith uses social media to regularly put photos of his “country walks and runs” and “football banter” online.
He claimed when I spoke to him he was a “science writer” and a “football writer”.
(then you remember his “work” seems to be stalking women who are associated with science and football).
One moment he is putting up photographs of himself in football stadiums: the next he is a Peeping Tom claiming that the footballers who have consensual sex with women are disgusting.
He claims to be a caring father, but puts details of his children (which I will not publish myself, out of respect) both on social media and in the News of the World.
He has no true interests or identity; Keith Gladdis has never been or known “himself” – he has been a husband replacement for his ambitious mother.
She wouldn’t have tolerated him not being her emotional crutch.
(I myself registered my parents were emotionally suffocating and moved away from them: Keith was never brave enough).
He was been an adult too soon, so had to lie to himself to keep himself safe.
This, perhaps, also explains the self-esteem issues which enable him to keep on going in Fleet Street.
Why he is content to be shouted at and manipulated and treated like dirt by editors?
Why he does not have the self-respect to protect his children from the pages of the News of the World?
As the Daily Mail would say, it all started with the FAMILY VALUES: Trish Gladdis used Keith as a tool for her aspirations, the dumping ground of her drama.
Moving through the Gladdis family, there is another woman who is really quite an interesting character.
Rebecca “Becki” Gladdis. Keith Gladdis’s sister.
According to her public posts on social media , Becki only moved “for vegan food and yoga”, and claims she is a crusader for justice who believes “bullies never prosper”.
At the same time, Becki Gladdis started a Twitter hate campaign against the actor Hugh Grant .
(after Hugh Grant named Keith Gladdis for stalking the Asian mother of his children, Tinglang Hong, during her pregnancy).
Becki Gladdis appears to be determined to create an onlinr image of herself as a wholesome, content young mother
She also hates a floppy haired English romcom actor (who has no idea who she is).
Becki Gladdis claimed Hugh Grant was “undone”, because some articles published about his private life tried to whip up hatred against him
(the articles were from Keith Gladdis stalking him and his Chinese girlfriend).
Like her brother, who has an odd love-hate relationship with footballers (trying to get into their social groups by stalking them ) Becki seems slightly obsessed with celebrities whilst claiming to despise them.
Perhaps inspired by Hugh Grant, she actually gave her baby an Asian name.
This leads to the issue of racism.
(now, I don’t find this personally interesting. I’m brown in a white country which generally isn’t that racist.
As an adult woman with a big cultural life, I socialise based on common interests.
Nationalism is a waste of time. Most people want to get on with their lives.
I probably like curry best, I wish I spoke more languages and I don’t pay too much attention to what country I’m in except for convenience
nless moaning about the weather.)
But racism comes into play in certain dynamics, and it certainly does here.
Trish Gladdis does not like that she has struggled all her life to maintain her marriage with passive Bob, and that her desire to hugely improve her social status has come to nothing.
Trish Gladdis feels she deserves better.
Women like Becki and Trish Gladdis, who the Mail is aimed at, like to pin their own problems on foreign women (sluts?) coming over and stealing all the men and lives they think they themselves deserve.
The Daily Mail even calls women like Trish Gladdis “English Roses” to imply that they are more attractive because they are white.
The Daily Mail made a point that they would print photos of and name Hugh Grant’s half-Asian baby, but not his other child:
They wanted the mixed race child to be stalked by the Press and harassed, and the Asian woman slut-shamed but nor the white one.
They make it clear: they want miscegenation between people of different races punished.
The Daily Mail editor, Paul Dacre’s mother Mary went through the same dynamic as Trish Gladdis.
It is no co-incidence that both men now work as editors for the Mail.
Her husband Peter Dacre dodged serving his country (not as a principled conscientious objector, just a coward) to photograph young women as a “showbiz reporter”, and was nothing to be proud of.
Mary Dacre traded her own femininity for “respectability” and social status until it was too late.
(and she and Peter Dacre, Paul Dacre’s dad, even got divorced in the end so what was the point?)
Like Trish Gladdis, she took her own bitterness out on resenting younger women, foreign women, “sluts”.
Her own misogyny was a direct consequence in her own self-loathing: she didn’t value herself enough to dump the loser Peter Dacre when she had enough life left.
Trish Gladdis has had the same thing with Bob Gladdis.
And the emotions come through with their sons: Alfred Hitchcock knew what he was doing with Psycho – Norman Bates doesn’t think he is responsible for murders, as it is all Mummy coming through him
And Keith Gladdis and Paul Dacre do not think they hate women. Indeed, they see themselves as Perfect Gentlemen (who occasionally stalk women)
It’s not about men who hate women.
We don’t hear “men” when we read the Mail. Indeed Paul Dacre doesn’t market the Mail at men.
Most of its readers are women: women like their own domineering mothers.
We hear the voices of their over-competitive mothers: of resentful Mary Dacre and Trish Gladdis.
The target audience of the Mail is Trish Gladdis:
Social climbing, trying to be “posh” but failing, and obsessing over other women’s bodies to make up for dissatisfaction with hers.
(anyone like me who eats healthy, likes dancing, and isn’t self-loathing enough to marry someone like Bob Gladdis and binge/comfort eat as a result is in the firing line with her.
Her resentment has goaded her son to track down whores and film them to “punish” them for being slimmer than her).
And Manchester is a football obsessed city: Having given up on her husband, Trish Gladdis demands she has a son or grandson who is a footballer
If she can’t, she’ll just hate every woman who happens to be married to one (and get her son to stalk them).
And Keith Gladdis’s journalism is his love letter to his mother Trish Gladdis.
He wants to protect her and re-tell her story, to make her life choices sound desirable.
He wants to give himself a happy childhood and a happy mother, by implying every other women secretly wants to be like her.
He would like other women to be “jealous” of her “peaceful respectable life”.
He wanted me punished for being a foreign slut.
Of course, with legislating and a more liberal sexual attitude, no-one really hates sluts (the supportive e-mails I have received have been extraordinary – THANK YOU. I really don’t blog enough but am very touched.
I am also slightly bemused/flattered a lot of adolescent boys see me as an
older woman sex symbol, I will save all these comments as it will be great fun to look at when I’m 75 for sure!).
“Adult woman is a bit promiscuous in legal, taxpaying job” doesn’t really make a story nowadays.
So Keith Gladdis went one further, in 2008.
Keith Gladdis attempted to supply me with cocaine in order to film me taking it and have me jailed.
Keith Gladdis tried to “reduce” me, to distance me from the prospect of relationships with good men by slut-shaming me.
who annoys me like most men but a decent cook, a Cambridge military chap, has been and is helping me on this blog with research).
Keith Gladdis claimed I was attempting to entice him with “sleazy acts”
(come on Keith love, just because your Mummy is emotionally obsessed with you doesn’t mean every woman does, especially ones you’ve stalked and paid to spend time with)
Keith Gladdis blackmailed me into giving an interview to the News of the World, claiming that either I grant them an interview to make it look like I had consented, or they would send the footage to everyone I knew, wherever I lived.
Keith Gladdis ensured that he would do all in his power to destroy me, for the crime of taking up female space in a world in which his bitter, frustrated, mother lived.
If women like me are not punished, then where is the value in Trish Gladdis enduring the emotional Death By A Thousand Cuts of being in a long-lasting but bad marriage, of trading her femininity and youth and life for “respectability”?
This is the key to feminism: rather than being a “good mother”, women should put themselves first.
Self-respect for women isn’t about sexuality: it’s about creating authentic lives for themselves.
What is known as “respectability” has nothing to do with self-respect. Trish Gladdis spent her youth coveting what other women had, sacrificing herself for her children, and Keith is bearing the emotional burden.
He does not know how to engage with his own wife: he has never seen a functioning marriage work.
Both Mary Dacre and Trish Gladdis failed as self-respecting women, and want to punish other women through their sons.
In both the Daily Mail and in the media in general, so much attention is given to young women, to those they can externally point and label “broken women”.
But as anyone who has read Chekhov would know, the sadness of a stable life but internal broken dreams, is more painful.
Interestingly, I don’t actually hate Keith Gladdis now. Emotional forgiveness is a wonderful act.
But as a feminist and a curious student, I want to and will continue to try to understand why he is the way he is.
Perhaps, we need to look more at bitter elderly women like Trish Gladdis.