So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

by

Jon Ronson

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Max Mosley is a British socialite and former Formula One motor racing chief whose parents rose to infamy in Britain because of their ardent support of Hitler and their leadership of the British Union of Fascists during World War II. When the press caught Mosley at a German-themed orgy in 2008, the tabloid paper News of the World published photos of the encounter and described the event as Nazi-oriented. Mosley, however, went on the offensive—he insisted that there was no Nazi imagery present at the orgy, sued the paper for defamation, and won his suit. The paper later folded. Jon Ronson was fascinated by Mosley’s ability to emerge from his public shaming relatively unscathed and firmly in control of the narrative. By pointing out the pettiness of shaming someone for their sexual preferences, Mosley had maintained control of his own narrative and refused to feel shame for who he was and what he liked.

Max Mosley Quotes in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

The So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed quotes below are all either spoken by Max Mosley or refer to Max Mosley. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Riverhead Books edition of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed published in 2016.
Chapter 7 Quotes

I received an interesting e-mail from Max Mosley. Like me, he’d been thinking a lot about what it was about him that had helped him to stave off even the most modest public shaming. And now, he wrote, he thought he had the answer. It was simply that he had refused to feel ashamed.

“As soon as the victim steps out of the pact by refusing to feel ashamed,” he said, “the whole thing crumbles.”

Related Characters: Jon Ronson (speaker), Max Mosley (speaker)
Page Number: 156
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

As it happens, Max’s and Andrew’s sins would in Puritan times have been judged graver than Jonah’s. Jonah, “guilty of lying or publishing false news,” would have been “fined, placed in the stocks for a period not exceeding four hours, or publicly whipped with not more than forty stripes,” according to Delaware law. Whereas Max and Andrew, having “defiled the marriage bed,” would have been publicly whipped (no maximum number was specified), imprisoned with hard labor for at least a year, and on a second offense, imprisoned for life.

But the shifting sands of shameworthiness had shifted away from sex scandals—if you’re a man—to work improprieties and perceived white privilege, and I suddenly understood the real reason why Max had survived his shaming. Nobody cared.

Related Characters: Jon Ronson (speaker), Max Mosley, Andrew Ferreira, Jonah Lehrer, Alexis Wright
Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:
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Max Mosley Character Timeline in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

The timeline below shows where the character Max Mosley appears in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7: Journey to a Shame-Free Paradise
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Shame and Social Media Theme Icon
Cycles of Shame, Trauma, and Violence Theme Icon
In 2008, News of the World exposed Formula One motor racing chief Max Mosley—the son of the reviled British wartime fascist leader Oswald Mosley—for attending a “NAZI-STYLE orgy.” The... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Cycles of Shame, Trauma, and Violence Theme Icon
Mosley’s father had founded, in 1932, the British Union of Fascists. His wife was obsessed with... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Cycles of Shame, Trauma, and Violence Theme Icon
In 2008, when Mosley heard that pictures of him at an orgy had been published in the news, he... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Cycles of Shame, Trauma, and Violence Theme Icon
Ronson was determined to get Mosley to identify how his behavior throughout his public shaming had in fact made him immune... (full context)
Cycles of Shame, Trauma, and Violence Theme Icon
Shame, Freedom of Speech, and Public Discourse Theme Icon
Weeks after the shoot, Ronson received an email from Max Mosley. Mosley said that what helped him to weather a public shaming was simple: it was... (full context)
Chapter 9: A Town Abuzz over Prostitution and a Client List
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Cycles of Shame, Trauma, and Violence Theme Icon
Shame, Freedom of Speech, and Public Discourse Theme Icon
Shame and Gender Theme Icon
...of ignore sex scandals involving white men and consensual sex. Finally, Ronson understood how Max Mosley had evaded shaming. (full context)