The drama surrounding the topless photos of Kate Middleton continued Saturday as Richard Desmond announced he would end his joint-venture relationship with the Irish Daily Star because of the tabloid's decision to run the images.
The topless photos of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, ran in Saturday's issue of the Irish Daily Star, according to Sky News.
The tabloid in question is a joint venture between Northern & Shell, based in the U.K., and Independent News & Media, based in Ireland, according to the Belfast Telegraph. Desmond is the chairman of Northern & Shell.
"I am very angry at the decision to publish these photographs and am taking immediate steps to close down the joint venture," Desmond told Sky News. "The decision to publish these pictures has no justification whatever, and Northern and Shell condemns it in the strongest possible terms."
Desmond's comments echo the criticism that has been leveled at the French magazine Closer, which defended the decision to run images of the topless Middleton sunbathing with her husband Prince William. Media detractors and the public have been quick to criticize the paparazzi who took the pictures of Middleton while she vacationed at the Chateau d'Autet in France. The private property is owned by another member of the U.K.'s royal family, Lord Linley, a nephew of Queen Elizabeth II.
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Desmond told the Belfast Telegraph his company's executives had no idea the Irish Daily Star planned to publish the pictures at issue. He added his company was consulting attorneys "as a matter of urgency over what we believe to be a serious breach of [the joint venture] contract."
Gareth Morgan, the editor of the Daily Star Sunday in the U.K., also told Sky News how upset he was about the Irish Daily Star's decision to publish the topless photos of Middleton. "We're absolutely horrified here in the office, and as a company. This has no merit as an editorial decision, it has no merit morally, it's frankly a horrible decision," Morgan said.
The decision to publish the photos was made by Michael O'Kane, the editor of the Irish Daily Star, who admitted he ran them to sell more papers, adding that Middleton is like any other celebrity.
"She's not the future queen of Ireland, so really the only place this is causing fury seems to be in the U.K., and they are very very tasteful pictures," O'Kane said, according to Entertainment Wise.
Meanwhile, the Italian magazine Chi has announced it will follow in the footsteps of the French magazine Closer and publish the Middleton photos in a large spread in a special issue next week. Both Chi and Closer are owned by Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister of Italy. Neither magazine has shown any fear of lawsuits by the U.K.'S royal family.