Max Mosley spent much of his life living down his father's fascist activism. An X-rated video may have ended all that
On an early spring day in London, a silver-haired man in a black overcoat hastily unlatched a wrought-iron gate in one of the city's most fashionable districts. After entering a basement apartment, he was welcomed by prostitutes clad in Nazi-style uniforms.
"You are going to be punished to show how we treat prisoners in our facility," one said. Another pretended to comb through his hair for lice. What the client — motor sports titan Max Mosley — didn't know was that a small camera was hidden on the premises. It captured a five-hour sadomasochistic session in which Mosley at one point counted off in German — "eins, zwei, drei, vier" — and declared in a B-movie accent, "She needs more of ze punishment!"
The video, leaked by a British tabloid, has brought Mosley's unsavory family history to the fore once more. His parents invited Hitler to their wedding and were imprisoned during World War II for their pro-Nazi activism.
Mosley, 67, at least initially refused to resign from his position as president of Federation Internationale de l'Automobile, the governing body of motor sports, including Formula One racing; he faces an FIA vote of confidence June 3. Married for nearly 50 years, he insists that no Nazi-themed role-playing was involved and plans to claim in court that he was speaking German merely because at least two of the five prostitutes involved are from Germany, according to The Times of London.
But the insignias worn by the prostitutes on their uniforms, reminiscent of Iron Eagles, suggest that Mosley had more in mind than practicing his German, as do the recollections of one of the prostitutes. "Max knew last week's orgy was to have a Nazi theme — he ordered it," the 40-year-old woman told the News of the World, which broke the story about Mosley's orgy.
After the torture sessions, the women offered Mosley wine, but he requested tea instead.
Perhaps the tea drinking is a holdover from Mosley's upper-class upbringing. His father was Sir Oswald Mosley, a fascist leader in pre-war Britain. The elder Mosley was married to Nazi sympathizer and socialite Diana Mitford in the drawing room of Joseph Goebbels, the infamous Nazi propagandist. Hitler attended as guest of honor.
Mosley once proclaimed that in car racing, he'd discovered a world where no one knew or cared about his family's fascist connections. But few of his racing colleagues are sticking up for him now — and many are clamoring for his resignation, including four car companies involved in Grand Prix racing: BMW, Daimler-Benz, Honda and Toyota.
"I don't believe he can represent anything after this," Jody Scheckter, the first and only Jewish driver to win the Formula One world driver's championship, told The New York Times. "If it didn't have a Nazi connotation it would be a completely different matter, but for a person in his position, and with his background, it's unbelievable."