The employers of a research scientist who unmasked herself as a call girl-turned bestselling author are standing by her, saying that her past had nothing to do with her present job.
After much digging by journalists and fans it emerged that Belle de Jour is Brooke Magnanti, a petite, blonde thirtysomething who works as a specialist in developmental neurotoxicology and cancer epidemiology in a hospital research group in Bristol.
A month ago she revealed her secret to her colleagues at the Bristol Initiative for Research of Child Health, who were “amazingly kind and supportive”.
Dr. Magnanti, who is based at St Michael’s Hospital in Bristol and employed by the University of Bristol, unmasked herself as the literary world’s best-kept secret after admitting in her online blog that she felt "worse" about her writing than about her life as a high-class prostitute.
Barry Taylor, a university spokesman, said: “This aspect of her past bears no relevance to her current role at the university.”
Dr. Magnanti was a PhD student working on her thesis at Sheffield University when she decided that prostitution would be a quick, easy and relatively painless way to earn some cash.
For 14 months from October 2003 she recorded her sexual encounters in her online blog with a frankness, humor and style that won her many admirers and led to a six-figure book deal.
It inspired the TV show, "The Secret Diary of a Call Girl," starring Billie Piper, the former pop star and Doctor Who actress. Dr. Magnanti said it was a relief to emerge from the shadows of anonymity that had meant that she could not even go to her own book launch.