Who leaked Madden drugs story?

Making headlines for all the wrong reasons, rocker Joel Madden.
Making headlines for all the wrong reasons, rocker Joel Madden.

In the wake of rock star Joel Madden's controversial eviction from a Sydney hotel this week, so many critical questions remain unanswered.

As Madden's employer on The Voice Australia, Channel Nine, and the Star waged a fierce public relations battle, many VIPs who had stayed at the Australian casino's swish Darling hotel over the past 18 months were left feeling more than a little exposed.

Their chief concern: how does a hotel that bills itself as being one of the most discreet in the country when it comes to celebrity guests, many with wild reputations including Leonardo DiCaprio and Adrian Grenier, end up in the centre of a scandal about what a chambermaid allegedly found in a rock star's suite?

Who leaked the story to Nine's rival, Channel Seven? Was it the police or someone from the hotel?

The official line from from the Star is a "zero tolerance" policy when it comes to drugs, despite marketing itself as a venue for wild parties complete with rock stars, models and paparazzi.

"I was flabbergasted. It was a complete overreaction. If we clean a guest's room and they leave something on the floor, we clean around it," explained former model Terry Kaljo, owner of Darlinghurst boutique hotel Medusa, a favoured destination of celebrities.

Sydney's multinational hotels such as the InterContinental, Sheraton on the Park and Park Hyatt are notoriously secretive about their celebrity guests, from Oprah Winfrey and Elton John to Barack Obama and Madonna. None of the hotels approached by PS would go on the record about chambermaid discretion.

Conspiracists have theorised that Madden was a sacrificial lamb after Channel Nine aired a damning report last weekend about Echo Entertainment's (owner of The Star) chief executive, John Redmond, and claims, which he denied, that he'd drunk too much.

A source close to Madden, who has been open about his long battle with much harder drugs, told PS the cannabis had been kept in a concealed spot in his suite and it was not the first time he had smoked a joint "in the privacy of his own room" over his nine-week stay.

The cannabis was found in Madden's room while he was conducting a meet and greet with cancer victims, at the request of the the Star's management. Hours later he was no longer welcome, having received a warning from police.

"In the old days there were things your staff would see which they would know to leave well alone, " a former concierge at the now defunct Sebel in Elizabeth Bay told PS, adding: "We prided ourselves on being the place where stars could come in Sydney and let their hair down."

The Madden scandal echoed the events of 1972 in Adelaide when Joe Cocker's hotel room was raided and police discovered marijuana. Bailed for $1000 by his promoter, Cocker pleaded guilty and expected to continue the tour until he hit the stage at Festival Hall in Melbourne less than a week later and yelled out: "In five years marijuana will be legalised in Australia, and the same cat who is trying to throw us out now will be smoking it himself." Cocker was given four hours to leave the country by unimpressed immigration officials.

Sydney Morning Herald