It’s often said that the dictate to speak no ill of the dead cannot
be honoured in Australia and the UK, due to our libel laws.
Paradoxically, as soon as you die you start to change – in Kerry
Packer’s case from the rough-as-guts mogul who liked a smoke and a
flutter into the man who ran serial mistresses with the same attitude
that he brought to the selection and stabling of polo ponies.
Yet bizarrely enough, one of the major Packer stories was under
everyone’s nose throughout the 90s and was either ignored – or so
effectively suppressed – that it demonstrates the power of a constricted
media to look after its own.
In 1996, the book You’ll Never Make Love in This Town Again (the title, a parody of the Hollywood insider story You’ll Never Do Lunch in this Town Again) was released and on the shelves in Australia (as an import). The
authors – four Hollywood hookers known only as Robin, Liza, Linda and
Tiffany – gave a tell-all account of their famous clients during the
days when they were part of Heidi Fleiss’s stable.
I picked up a copy (media studies research) in Readings I think, and
read the stories – by then well-publicised – of the paid
predilections of people like Charlie Sheen and Don Simpson before
getting to a chapter which began “I remember one time when Kerry
Packer, the Australian multi-millionaire…” The chapter went on to
detail how Packer, dug in at the tables at Las Vegas, had booked eight
A-list girls to fly out for the weekend, at a few grand per night per
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Luckily for them (I’m summarising from memory here) Packer was so
caught up in gambling that he never required their services – other
than to watch him play cards and eat peanuts, which may have been
worse. Despite the book being widely available in Oz (it’s still
available on second-hand websites), and the Heidi Fleiss story getting
maximum airplay, not a word was whispered in the media about the story
– nor did the Packer dark star make any visible effort to stop sales
of the book. Suppression or simple oversight? Who knows? Still, eight
unused hookers – the taxes you paid instead of him at work, eh? No
wonder the nation stopped to hold its breath last week.