LONDON Nov 1 The press spokesman for Heather
Mills, estranged wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney, has quit
over television interviews she gave accusing the media of
branding her a "whore" and "gold digger."
The outburst by the charity worker and former model, which
made front-page news in British tabloids on Thursday, was a
mistake, according to Phil Hall.
"It was definitely the wrong thing to do," said Hall, hired
by Mills in 2006 when she and McCartney announced their split.
The couple married in 2002 and have a daughter, Beatrice.
"I'm very sad about it," he told Reuters. "We've been
through a lot during the last two years and it's a shame."
Hall, former editor of tabloid weekly News of the World,
resigned as Mills' main link to the media on Tuesday when she
told him of her plans to go ahead with the interviews.
Speaking to GMTV on Wednesday, Mills accused the tabloids of
driving her close to suicide.
"They've called me a whore, a gold-digger, a fantasist, a
liar, the most unbelievably hurtful things," she said, fighting
back tears several times.
Hall said he had advised Mills to not react to bad press.
"My view is that you need good relations with the media to
turn the negative into the positive and I advise always to
ignore the stuff thrown at you," he explained.
Mills, 39, has been vilified by some media since she married
McCartney, seen by many Britons as a cultural icon.
Scrutiny of her past and private life has been intense since
the split was announced, especially because Mills and McCartney
are in the middle of a bitter divorce battle.
DOG STORY FINAL STRAW
Hall said Mills had succeeded in winning over the media
during the last year by keeping a low profile, but believed one
recent tabloid story had "tipped her over the edge".
The Sun, singled out by Mills in her attack on the press,
reported this week that her neighbour claimed a firework display
staged by Mills killed her dog. Mills denies the allegation.
Both the Sun and rival the Daily Mirror ran stories about
the interview on their front pages on Thursday, calling it a
rant and expressing concern over her mental state.
"Help! She Needs Somebody" wrote the Sun.
In the GMTV interview Mills complained of her treatment.
"I've stayed quiet for my daughter. We've had death threats,
I've been close to suicide ... I've had worse threats than a
paedophile or a murderer and I've done nothing but charity for
20 years," she said.
Mills compared her situation to that of Kate McCann, the
mother of missing girl Madeleine.
The Daily Mail said Mills had "lost the last few shreds of
sympathy that people might still have held for her.
"How dare she compare herself to Kate McCann; as if enduring
the uncomfortable spotlight of a very public divorce is in any
way akin to losing a daughter and being branded a murderer,"
wrote commentator Amanda Platell.