What will the Sussexes make of our Omid Scobie revelations?

Omid Scobie’s TOTAL transformation! His sycophantic portrayal of the Sussexes means they trust him to ‘tell their truth’. What WILL they make of the news he lied about his age (42), changed his looks, barely talks about his seedy old K-pop website…?

  • Omid Scobie ran defunct Korean entertainment news website called IdolWow! 

A singer in bra and hot pants takes centre stage as six models – collared and leashed and wearing pink bondage masks – kneel and writhe at her feet. So begins South Korean rapper Hyuna’s video for her 2015 hit single Roll Deep.

Even in an internet age in which music videos have long lost their innocence, or indeed their power to shock, it appears notably raunchy.

Arguably more shocking, though, was the enthusiastic reaction of now-defunct Korean entertainment news website IdolWow! Particularly as the website was founded and run by Omid Scobie, better known these days as cheerleader-in-chief to the Duchess of Sussex, whose views on the sexual objectification of women he presumably endorses.

Back in 2015, though, Scobie was doing the feminist cause few favours. An article on his website noted creepily that Hyuna’s video ‘is littered with close up crotch shots in barely-there hot pants that show off the 23-year-old girl group star’s bootylicious curves’.

It added that ‘at one point the brunette idol even squeezes her breasts together at the camera’.

Quoting a spokesman for Hyuna expressing hope that fans will enjoy the video, the article concluded: ‘We’re sure they will!’

Omid Scobie is interviewed before the Platinum Jubilee Thanksgiving Service at St Paul’s Cathedral in honour of Queen Elizabeth II 70 years rei

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends day two of the Invictus Games 2020 at Zuiderpark on April 17

A singer in bra and hot pants takes centre stage as six models – collared and leashed and wearing pink bondage masks – kneel and writhe at her feet. So begins South Korean rapper Hyuna’s video for her 2015 hit single Roll Deep

Scobie launched IdolWow! to cover the South Korean pop – or K-pop – global phenomenon, which combines attractive singers, addictive melodies and slick choreography. Drooling over pictures of another star, Yuri, from the group Girls’ Generation, the website highlights her ‘tight bikini that flaunts her ample cleavage and supremely busty curves’.

What the vocal feminist Meghan would make of it all, one can only imagine. Scobie has previously written extensively about Meghan’s female empowerment speeches and has posted links on social media to articles about sexism.

He was the sole director of London-based IdolWow! Ltd, but for some reason gave his name on company legal documents as Om, rather than Omid.

Now a successful Royal author, he has moved to pastures new. Along with fellow journalist Carolyn Durand, he wrote Finding Freedom, the fawning biography of Harry and Meghan.

Though Scobie is scornful of his ‘Meghan’s mouthpiece’ tag, the man who appears to have the inside track on what the Duchess is thinking is suddenly everywhere, always on hand to fight her corner.

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were all smiles during their first public outing since their eviction from Frogmore Cottage. The couple are pictured on Friday in Santa Barbara, California

Nothing seems to escape his ear, not even private conversations.

Examples of his extraordinary access abound.

He reported, for instance, on a summer 2019 visit to Frogmore Cottage by Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland. Realising her daughter was unable to visit nearby Windsor even to pick up coffees, Doria turned to Meghan and said: ‘You’re stuck in here.’

Initially, Meghan strenuously denied helping Scobie and Durand with Finding Freedom. But in November 2020, the High Court heard that she authorised the pair to be secretly briefed, allowing information to be passed to them via a third party.

She still insists that neither she nor Prince Harry co-operated with or met the authors ‘for the purposes of the book’.

Scobie has a new book out in November, provocatively titled Endgame and subtitled ‘Inside the Royal Family and the monarchy’s fight for survival’. It is billed as ‘exposing the chaos, family dysfunction, distrust and draconian practices’ within The Firm.

Whether Meghan has had any input into it is anyone’s guess, but Scobie’s role as the Sussexes’ standard-bearer continues to cause disquiet at the Palace. As Tatler magazine once put it: ‘[Scobie] is close – very close – to the Duchess of Sussex.’

In March 2020, he wrote a first-hand account of the day Meghan finally flew out of England following her last solo appearance as a working Royal. He told readers of Harper’s Bazaar that he gave her a ‘goodbye hug’ at Buckingham Palace, later adding that ‘tears that the Duchess had been bravely holding back’ were ‘free to flow’.

Along with fellow journalist Carolyn Durand, Scobie wrote Finding Freedom, the fawning biography of Harry and Meghan

In the same fulsome article, he described shadowing the Sussexes’ work, ‘getting to know the couple better through their humanitarian endeavours, engagements and overseas visits’. He wrote: ‘Their high-energy work ethic and passion for social justice attracted a new, more diverse demographic of royal watcher. As a young(ish), biracial royal correspondent, the change was exciting. And as their popularity grew around the world, so did a new golden era for the House of Windsor.’

His book promises to shine a light on ‘unsolved mysteries’ concerning the Royal Family. Publisher HarperCollins has previously said it will ‘have the world talking’ and Scobie has warned that it will reveal moments the Royal Family should be ‘ashamed of’. Not that the Sussexes need worry.

Going on tour with the couple to Australia in 2018 was, according to Scobie, ‘what I can imagine Beatlemania was like in the 1960s’.

He said he was convinced they ‘might actually possess some sort of Harry Potter-like wands, reserved only for use during official engagements’ and recalls how they arrived in a remote corner of the country which hadn’t seen rain for months only for the heavens to open.

Not that he’s biased. He announced without irony recently that he is one of few journalists writing about the Royals whose work is impartial and ‘spin free’.

But not even Scobie gets everything right.

In September he said on TV that Elizabeth II’s body would be moved from ‘Scotland to the UK’ via the Royal train. Some viewers pointed out that Scotland is part of the UK and that the coffin was flown to West London. He later called it a slip of the tongue.

Of his new book he said that ‘in order to tell a full story, it has to be written without fear of favour – regardless of the consequences. It’s one of the reasons why I spent the past year writing my book, Endgame, an unfiltered investigation into the current state of the Royal Family.

Kim Hyun-A of 4minute attends the ‘Steve J & Yoni P’ collection during Seoul Fashion Week F/W 2013 at IFC Mall

‘At a time when more people than ever are questioning the relevancy, purpose and role of the monarchy in modern Britain, the need for thorough, spin-free, and well-rounded insight and reporting has never been more important than it is now.’

Scobie began his career on British celebrity magazine, Heat, where he rhapsodised about another ‘inspiring’ woman in the public eye getting a rough time from the tabloids.

Not Royalty this time, but Jodie Marsh, the glamour model once described as ‘human Viagra’ by a lover and who famously traded vicious insults with her rival, Katie Price, then known as Jordan.

As a junior reporter, Scobie cultivated Jodie by accompanying her to nightclubs. And she was more than happy to grace the front cover of Heat.

Jodie’s ride on the reality TV carousel ended long ago and she has faded into obscurity, while Scobie goes from strength to strength, appearing on the ABC network in the US and writing for Harper’s Bazaar and Yahoo News.

The parallels between his friendship with Ms Marsh and his championing of Meghan are striking.

To both he offered unwavering, loyal support. Unfortunately, Ms Marsh now says: ‘I really can’t remember anything about him.’

Beyond a shared weakness for designer labels (Scobie even has a penchant for Chanel skis) and a love of dogs, Meghan would appear to have little in common with her privately educated apostle.

Growing up in a large detached home on the outskirts of Oxford, the son of an Iranian social worker mother and a British marketing director father – who describes his son as ‘a man of integrity’ – Scobie always had grand ambitions.

‘Even from a young age, he had a kind of polish, a smooth kind of charm that adults loved,’ said a childhood friend.

‘He said he couldn’t see himself doing an ordinary job, that he wanted to do something special. He was a nice guy.’

Back in 2015, though, Scobie was doing the feminist cause few favours. An article on his website noted creepily that Hyuna’s video ‘is littered with close up crotch shots in barely-there hot pants that show off the 23-year-old girl group star’s bootylicious curves’.

A smattering of photos on social media suggest an individual who takes his public image seriously.

One is from a photoshoot accompanying a magazine interview. In it, he lounges contentedly in a gold smoking jacket, his well-shod feet resting on a coffee table. He is said to have once owned a gold-coloured Range Rover with personalised number plates.

Elsewhere he has been pictured snowboarding in Chamonix, shopping for designer clothes with his French bulldog, Yoshi, and striking a pose beside a Canadian lake. Beneath these images his followers – many of them Meghan fans who do daily battle online with supporters of William and Kate – post gushing comments. Of the smoking jacket snap, one said: ‘This is a regal, elegant capture.’

Despite the demise of IdolWow!, Scobie hasn’t left K-pop behind entirely.

Friends who knew him from the old days are struck not just by his change in fortune but his physical transformation, and say that during the course of many trips to Seoul he acquired the K-pop look: he bears a startling resemblance to the genre’s fastidiously groomed performers, or idols as they are known, even sharing their penchant for Harry Potter glasses. ‘He just seems to get younger and younger looking,’ says a former colleague.

K-pop has become a multi- billion-dollar force, smashing into the global mainstream and becoming one of South Korea’s most lucrative and influential exports. But it has also attracted criticism. According to Mano Lee, a Seoul-based K-pop columnist, female stars face sexism and misogyny, reflecting the way women are treated in wider Korean society.

‘A lot of Korean women can relate to the issues that female celebrities deal with. They have experienced it themselves,’ she told The Guardian. She added that many feel unsafe due to gender-based violence, victim-shaming and ‘molka’, or secret filming.

In 2019, a South Korean court sentenced two K-pop stars to six and five years in prison for gang-rape and additionally convicted one of them for distributing videos of the assaults and sexual encounters.

Hyun-A of South Korean girl group 4minute attends an autograph session for SPA brand Spicycolor on August 19, 2012

Scobie’s youthful K-pop look, meanwhile, doesn’t explain why in the IdolWow! legal documents, his date of birth is listed incorrectly, making him eight years younger.

He also told an interviewer in 2020 that he was 33 when, in fact, he was then 39. As Tatler magazine observed in an interview, it was an odd thing to get wrong ‘particularly when he’s so insistent that everything in Finding Freedom has been checked twice’.

For now, Scobie, who turned 42 last week, is contemplating a new Royal era, one that he doubtless hopes will bring him continued success.

A friend said: ‘Whatever happens, I’m sure Omid will go from strength to strength.

‘He has a happy knack of reinventing himself.’

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