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Mimi takes action over video

Date: 07/06/1997
Words: 443
          Publication: Sun Herald
Section: NEWS
Page: 7
ELLE Macpherson's younger sister Mimi is planning legal action in Australia and overseas after astonishing claims involving a sex video appeared in a mass circulation British newspaper.

Whale watcher Mimi, one-time companion of former Labor minister Michael Lee, is said by friends to be "devastated" by reports alleging a video caught her having sex in a Double Bay hotel suite.

The video, which is circulating around Sydney, is said to be on open sale at $50.

A copy seen by The Sun-Herald is of such poor quality the woman cannot be identified.

But the Macpherson family has faced weeks of torment over the allegations. Then came a double-page spread in London's top-selling Sunday Mirror under the headline: What An Elle Of A Video!

For Mimi, 29, recently linked to ironman Guy Leech and who has tried to establish herself on TV, it was the final straw. Her agent Nicolle Miller confirmed this week legal action was under way.

The Sun-Herald last week tracked down Matthew Bennett, who appeared in the video and who was awaiting trial on cocaine charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Bennett, 38, the son of men's clothing tycoon Ron Bennett, admitted he made the explicit tape - but insisted it was never intended to be seen by anyone else.

"I did not ever distribute that tape or pass a copy to anyone," he said.

He added he was "absolutely disgusted" that it was in wide circulation and had been touted around magazines and TV stations.

Ms Macpherson's younger brother, Sydney businessman Brendan, confirmed his sister was in a "a very difficult situation".

"Normally I don't comment when it comes to my family but it's kind of funny that all these people keep coming up to us and saying 'We know about this video'," Mr Macpherson said.

"The fact is the guy who was involved I consider to be untrustworthy. As far as we're all concerned, it's not true."

He said his stepfather, Cronulla Rugby League Club president Peter Gow, had told him the video claims were "absolute bull". Mr Gow declined to comment.

Mr Bennett claimed copies had been circulating among stockbrokers. "They made copies and from there it went to banks, everywhere in the city," he said.

Guy Leech, now a Channel 10 sports host, said: "As far as I'm concerned it's far from the truth and just silly."

Despite being the sister of one of the most recognisable women on Earth, Mimi Macpherson has made her own name as a celebrity and successful businesswoman in Australia.

She runs a whale-watching business in Hervey Bay, Queensland, and worked briefly as a presenter for the now-defunct cable documentary channel, Quest, in 1995.

Despite the controversy, Bennett claims he and Mimi are friends. "She doesn't deserve this," he said.

"No-one deserves this, particularly her."

In July 1994, Bennett was charged after allegedly arranging to supply cocaine to an undercover police officer.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charge and will stand trial next year.

Coincidently, Bennett was once a major force in the video industry, running a video supply business on Parramatta Road, Stanmore.

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