THE EDITOR OF the Irish Daily Star has been suspended as an investigation is carried out into the circumstances which led to the paper publishing pictures of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge topless.
Michael O’Kane has been suspended with immediate effect pending an investigation into the publication which has caused a furore in recent days and led to threats from the paper’s British co-owner to shut it down.
The news was announced by the Irish publisher of the paper, Independent Star Ltd, this evening.
On Saturday, the newspaper published pages from the French edition of the magazine ‘Closer’ which showed Kate topless while on holiday with her husband Prince William in southern France.
The controversial move saw the paper’s British co-owner Northern and Shell threaten to shut it down through its chairman Richard Desmond. He said at the weekend that he was “taking immediate steps to close down the joint venture”.
Co-owner Independent News and Media also condemned the publication of the pictures but said it had no prior knowledge that the images would be published and described the move to shut down the paper as “disproportionate”.
It is not clear whether Desmond can shut the paper down or withdraw financial support under the co-ownership agreement between his company and INM.
Speaking at the weekend, O’Kane defended the move the publish the pictures telling the BBC: “She’s not the future queen of Ireland so really the only place this is causing fury seems to be in the UK, and they are very very tasteful pictures.”