The art of the public celebrity scuffle

Packer and Gyngell made headlines with a public brawl outside the billionaire's Bondi home.

Packer and Gyngell made headlines with a public brawl outside the billionaire’s Bondi home.Credit:media mode

From the outside it looked like two middle aged fathers having an uncoordinated brawl. But with the context of who the fathers were, a global media story unfolded.

Of course, the Clarke story gets even juicier as star power trickles down.

Michael Clarke and Jade Yarbrough in happier times.

Michael Clarke and Jade Yarbrough in happier times.Credit:Getty

Jade Yarbrough is Jasmine’s sister who is married to TV presenter Karl Stefanovic. Stefanovic works for Nine, the owner of this masthead and has long been popular with the tabloids. Meanwhile, the woman Clarke was having an affair with is said to be Pip Edwards, owner of fitness empire PE Nation.

Blurry iPhone footage

The golden rule when it comes to capturing a legendary public noise: the blurrier, the better.

The Clarke incident was apparently filmed at night on a low-resolution iPhone, giving the entire ordeal a Blair Witch-esque aesthetic.

While the ethics of filming someone in the middle of a situation like this remains up for debate, it’s hard to deny that it adds to the drama.

However, ideally you want either surveillance or CCTV footage. Would Jay Z and Solange’s elevator debacle be anywhere near as shocking if it were filmed in high definition? Unlikely.

Someone has to be shirtless or disheveled

This part is crucial because it gives the action a sense of immediacy; the participants are so engrossed in what is happening that they didn’t even have time to dress appropriately.

I’m confident Clarke has a long list of regrets following this incident, but at the top must be not being able to put on a shirt. The image of him shirtless and limping around the park will survive any memory of him hoisting his bat mid-SCG.

Sorry the next day

A public scuffle naturally requires an equally public mea culpa. Often the guilty party rushes to issue their apology in the hope that this will limit the damage to their reputation and start the rehabilitation process.

The day after the slap That Rocked The Oscars™, Will Smith publicly apologized to Chris Rock on Instagram, admitting he was “out of line and wrong.”

Clarke followed suit and shared it The Daily Telegraph: “I am absolutely disappointed that I have put people I value most in this position. My actions leading up to this altercation were downright shameful and regrettable.”

The Morning Edition Newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here. The art of the public celebrity scuffle

Jaclyn Diaz

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