The Ethics of Corporate Elites

The REAL Sassoon

What  Happened - Getting to the Truth

1. Who is the man who calls himself Vidal Sassoon?
2. What name was he entitled to use by birth?
3. Does he have a legal right to use the name, "Vidal Sassoon?'
4. Why would someone with the existing advantages of significant fame destroy someone he would have to claim as a relative, however distant?

Knowing the facts nearly always makes the motives crystal clear.

We know 'Vidal X' was born in January, 1928 in Shepherd's Bush , London. His autobiography, as he evidently dictated it to a writer named Alan Bestic in 1968, gives the month and year. The same biography casually mentions being mistaken as related to a well known poet, Seigfried Sassoon and Sir Victor Sassoon of the Bahamas, but modestly Vidal admits to being, "one of the basement boys" on page 26. He goes on to say, "I mention the fact not because there is anything particularly praiseworthy about it, but because, in one way or another it may have affected my outlook and my career."

In the book, "The Sassoons," by Stanley Jackson, the author made this comment, the only mention of Vidal. "Except to a nostalgic minority, Sir Philip's name will mean far less that that of Vidal Sassoon, the contemporary hair stylist, who does not claim descent from the Baghdad dynasty. His father was born in Turkey where many Sephardic Jews found sanctuary after the Spanish Inquisition".

"Vidal X' has no proven claim to call anyone in the Sassoon family his relation and the spelling of the name is significant.

The name 'Sassoon' has been endowed with significance and meaning since the 1800s. David Sassoon, born in Baghdad, in 1792, changed history. He and his family achieved enormous wealth. His son, Sir Albert Sassoon, was knighted by the Crown of England, and became close friends of the royal family.

David Sassoon's father was Sheikh Sason, who figures in history as the last of the Nasi. Nasi served the Court of Baghdad as Chief Banker. The Nasi (Prince of the Captivity) was by practice usually the wealthiest and most respected Jew in Baghdad and in this position was able to advocate for his people.

Sassoon Saleem Sassoon's family are descended from the Sheikh, leaving Baghdad at the same time, as did many of the family.

David Sassoon, the son of Sheikh Sason, changed his name, adding the second 'o'. His siblings followed his lead. While Vidal does not claim or share a common ancestry with this family Sassoon Saleem Sassoon can document his ancestry.

Having a famous name will change how people view you and how they treat you. If his biological father was a 'Jack Sasson," no relation to a famous family, the motive would have been clear for informally adopting a change and a document exist

While there is no proof Vidal X has a claim to 'Sassoon' as a surname using it was doubtless helpful in his chosen trade, making him stand out and associating him with the aristocracy when, in fact, he was nothing of the kind.

About Sassoon Saleem Sassoon 

At the same time David Sassoon changed his name so did his siblings and their families. It was at this time the extra 'o' was added. Sassoon Saleem Sassoon is closely related to this Davidic line, separated by only one generation.

Sassoon Saleem Sassoon was born in Calcutta. His grandfather was born in Baghdad. In parallel with their cousins, the family of David Sassoon,both families were merchants who relocated to the British colonies in India. Both families had many children. Both families share many common first names. One of the sons of David Sassoon was also named twice with Sassoon as a first and last name, the middle name being David. As is true of related family lines who are themselves prosperous and satisfied, Sassoon Saleem Sassoon's family had only a mild interest in the family of David Sassoon.

Most members of these closely related families left Baghdad during the same time period because of violence and oppressive practices by those in power.

Sassoon Saleem Sassoon provided Vidal with a copy of his birth certificate, when asked, in 1969. In their letter requesting the document they write, "If, in fact, your legal name is Sassoon Sassoon we cannot, of course, demand you cease and desist using same." Sassoon Sassoon had been a licensed hairdresser since 1963. He had trademarks and had been advertising and selling products using his own name for several years. The name, Sassoon Saleem Sassoon has an interesting story. It is very much a family story.

Birth Certificate

In his book, "Sorry to keep you waiting, Madam," Vidal tells the reader his father abandoned the family when he was four and his brother, two. After a struggle to support her children first her eldest son and then the younger son were consigned to the custody of an orphanage in Shepherd's Bush section of London, where the family lived.

Clearly the abandoned mother loved her sons. The father's name is never mentioned. No reason is provided to explain why the abandoned woman could not force him to support her sons, if their relationship was legitimate.

The full text from Vidal's book relating to his family is reproduced here. It is only a few paragraphs.

For six years Vidal only occasionally glimpsed his mother during synagogue. She was allowed only one visit a month. He never refers to his male parent as his mother's husband. He is reunited with his mother when she marries. The name of the man is never mentioned but in the dedication of his book Vidal includes, named first, a Nathan G. He is then eleven years old. These being the facts, published by Vidal in 1968, why does this document, dated 1992, show Jack Sass0on as his brother's father at birth in 1930? An earlier documents shows the name Sasson, only one 'o'.

The law in Great Britain does not allow for name changes by usage. A legal procedure is necessary. Who was Vidal's biological father? Where is the marriage certificate if a marriage took place? Were Vidal and his brother, whose name is written variously as Ivor and Issac, adopted by his step father? Was the step-father's name Sasson? The silence is deafening.

What is clear is the desire to hide something. What would that be?

Jewish law does not view adoption as a merging of family. Instead, the natural parents retain their rights and relationship. Therefore even if adoption had taken place, there would be no change of name.

Who was Jack Sasson? The step father? The biological father? Did he exist or was he made up by Vidal to create a specious claim to a name which symbolized respectibility for himself and his mother? The spelling, a known variation, indicates Jack was a descendant of a line of the family which broke off from the Sassoons at an earlier time. No information on 'Jack's' lineage has been made available.

His mother's name at the time of her marriage when Vidal was 11 is Betty Belinsky. We do not know if Belinsky is her maiden name or a retained married name. Again, the lack of information opens questions which need to be answered if we are to understand the motives which moved Vidal to steal a name from someone using it legitimately.

To accomplish this Vidal would have had to have the cooperation of those hearing the case and ensure Sassoon Saleem Sassoon lacked competent counsel.

All of these things appear to have taken place.

After her marriage, when her eldest son is 11 Betty refers to herself as Betty Sasson. If this was the name of her husband this would have been expected. But if Sasson had been the name of the man to whom she was never married who fathered her children and then abandoned them why is she using it? Both her sons would have been expected to continue the use of their birth names.

When the boys were consigned to the Orphanage for Saphardic Jews their name could not have been Sassoon. What was it? Under what name were they living at that time? Interestingly enough, the Orphanage, which has received millions in donations from Vidal, refuses to provide any information on this point.

But at some point her eldest son begins using a variation of the Sasson name. He becomes Sassoon. When this took place is unknown but may have been early in his career as a hairdresser.

In any case, Vidal does not have a legitimate claim to the name, Sassoon. His name by natural heritage may be Belinsky if not one from Betty's as yet undocumented first marriage, if one took place.

Vidal might have taken the name of his step father from sincere gratitude and affection. He may have taken the name of a casual friend or found the name in the newspaper or read it someplace. But there is no evidence it is his name of heritage and no records exist which prove he took the name legally.

There were several possible motivations for ignoring both English and Jewish law. Vidal's parents might have never married and in fact been unable to marry under Jewish law. Betty might have been his mistress with a wife living elsewhere. The list of causes are available at the website cited in this paragraph. Her sons would therefore, under Jewish law, be Mamzer, unable to marry into most Jewish families by the law as it was at the time. Mamzerim, the offspring, are viewed as having been damaged by the actions of their parents.

"A child born out of wedlock is not a mamzer provided the parents could possibly have married each other. This is true even when Jewish law forbids the marriage. A mamzer is created only if the prohibition to marry is severe -- its violation carries at least a Karet penalty. [Karet means to sever -- i.e. the sinner is severed from his roots in the Jewish people.] A child whose father is a non-Jew is not a mamzer regardless of whether the mother was married or not."

The lack of documentation coupled with the withholding and changing of records indicates strongly that a fraud had taken place.

Doing so would not have been difficult.

In practice, principals to the birth can ask that 'mistakes' be corrected. This is done on request. In this way Vidal could produce paper showing a claim to the name by ignoring his mother's first relationship if the book where these admissions were printed was not readily available. If there was no marriage then the 'correction' could be to have taken the name of his biological father, not previously used, adding an 'o'. We do not know - and Vidal X has done all in his power to withhold the evidence and muddy the waters.

                                                                                  Getting a copy of the now nearly forgotten book, published in 1968,"Sorry I

                                                                                 Kept You Waiting,  Madame," is    nearly impossible.

'Vidal Sassoon,' who admits to being rebuffed by the Sassoon family in Britain, attributes this to the low social and economic status of his family at the time he was born.

Not being actually related to them was a more likely cause. The British line of the family are now receiving a letter asking for clarification.

Vidal would have no compunction as to how he treated Sassoon Saleem Sassoon both because he knew they were not related at all and because of his anger at lacking any family background himself. Vidal profited from the calculated actions of suborning the justice system and destroying the career of a man who had done him no harm but to have what he desperately wanted, an honorable name steeped in history.

Go here to see the Time Line of the legal war made of Sassoon Saleem Sassoon.

To steal a man's name is to steal his identity, the essence of who he is. Only during the Holocaust were individuals stripped of their names with such a complete and calloused lack of conscience. The Auschwitz Album, where you watch the dehumanizing process taking place, reveals this outrage in full context.

Hair dressing is a service, an art. The "Bob," which was supposedly the signature of 'Vidal Sassoon,' first appeared at the style of choice in the Roaring 20s, long before little 'Vidal' was placed in the orphanage by his destitute mother.

What you steal is never yours.

What else made Vidal stand out? The name to which he had no claim which linked him to an aristocratic family.