Can David Beckham bounce back from this hacking scandal?
His own goal
In terms of pure likability, there are few who rate higher than Mr B - or as Victoria sometimes refers to him (and we are not making this up Goldenballs). He's a superbly talented footballer, loving father and husband and ambassador for the likes of UNICEF. All while looking damn good and flogging his own line of fashion for H&M and scent.
But typifying what celebrity means in 2017 also has its downfalls. Especially when you have a net worth of around $450 million and use email just like everyone else.
This month, cyber criminals using Russian servers hacked the PR Agency that looks after the former England captain, Doyen Global, in what has been described as a blackmail attempt. Or more accurately blabmail attempt. The fee was $1.6 million (1 million pounds) for their silence. Doyen refused and it was awwwwwn.
One of the most damaging revelations was that Beckham and his publicity team wanted to use his charity work as a campaign for a knighthood - Sir Becks. Such matters are decided by the Honours Committee. Which was allegedly described by the man himself as "unappreciative c***s" when he failed to get the gong in 2013. Lesser offers were tabled but Becks was reported to have responded with "Unless it's a knighthood f*** off".
David Beckham's representatives say the hacked emails discussing his charity work and prospective honours relate to "outdated material taken out of context from hacked and doctored private emails" and paint a "deliberately inaccurate picture" of his views, while UNICEF stood by its man describing him as "generously giving his time, energy and support to help raise awareness and funds for Unicef's work for children".
Still, some of the specifics must clearly have stung. Not least for the sense of green-eyed pettiness that was levelled at popera singer Katherine Jenkins who was awarded an OBE. In one email to his agent Beckham rails: "Katherine Jenkins OBE for what? Singing at the rugby and going to see the troops, plus admitting to taking coke... F***ing joke and if you get asked we should think of a cutting remark."
There was more to come and the subsequent allegations centred more on money than accolades. The fear of losing a tax perk was allegedly one of the reasons he put off leading a group of 100 youngsters on behalf of Unicef on a visit to Downing Street. And although he didn't charge the BBC to appear on The Graham Norton show as a UNICEF ambassador, he did ask for a $27,000 private plane flight to Liverpool the next day. To watch his son play football. Bearing in mind that he was estimated to have earned $115,000 dollars A DAY in 2016, it was always gonna raise eyebrows.
On top of all this was an apparent disconnect between the value he espouses and the brands he represents. Particularly H&M. In 2015, Beckham announced a high-profile UNICEF fund to combat global child exploitation, however a Mail On Sunday investigation found evidence of child labour abuse at factories in Burma used by H&M. We're talking 13 year olds working up to 12 hours a day for as little as 21c per hour.
The company says it has since clamped down on such practices and Beckham himself could hardly be expected to know the harsh truths about a supply chain. Most likely, he was given assurances to the contrary.
Because, despite the hints, allegations, spin and supposition, David Beckham is ultimately a good man. One of the better ones in fact. Just how his image bounces back from this - or even needs to - remains to be seen.
Buro 24/7 Selection
Buro 24/7 Selection