BERLIN: Germany blasted British tabloid The Sun yesterday for printing what were billed to be pictures of Chancellor Angela Merkel changing into her bathing suit.
"You can assume that the chancellor of course has an interest in resting when she is on vacation, spending time with her husband, relaxing and not being constantly exposed to the voyeuristic gaze of lurking photographers," deputy government spokesman Thomas Steg told reporters when asked about the pictures.
"But she decided quickly not to take legal action. She said the public judgment here in Germany of the publication of these photographs in British media is so clear that it is enough for her." The offending images, first published in the top-selling Sun on Monday, showed a woman from behind with her buttocks partly exposed with the headline "I'm Big in the Bumdestag" in a pun on the Bundestag lower house of parliament.
Another showed Merkel from the front in a black swimsuit putting on a robe.
Steg noted German newspapers had been largely respectful in their coverage of the chancellor's recent holiday in southern Italy, which was limited to a few candid photos.
The German media savaged the latest attack from the sensationalist British press, which delights in taking potshots at London's wartime enemy, particularly ahead of the soccer World Cup which Germany is hosting this year.
"You're rotten to the core," wrote columnist Franz Josef Wagner in the mass-selling Bild.
"You showed my chancellor changing out of her bathing suit in your 'rottenest' paper. Shame on you. My chancellor's bottom is still more pleasant for me to look at than your whiskey-bloated ass-faces in London."