Today, Hugh Grant took the stand to testify in front of a commission that is investing the practice of British newspapers, and gave lengthy examples of how the tabloids have infringed on is privacy for years since he became famous.
His testimony painted a damning portrait of 15 years worth of privacy intrusion, including hacked phone calls, break ins and more. Grant stated that he believes his phone was hacked by Britain’s Mail on Sunday tabloid paper. It was the first time he had implicated the paper that is not owned by the media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
He speaks of a 2007 story that was run by Associated Newspapers, Ltd., who are rivals of Murdoch, and says that the story could only have been obtained by listening to his phone calls. The story alleged that his romance with Jemima Khan was on the rocks because of conversations with a female who had, what was described by the tabloid, as a “plummy voice.”
The only woman that he had spoken to was the assistant of a movie producer friend of his, who would leave charming, funny messages on his phone. He states that her voice could only be described as “plummy”. Grant sued the paper for libel and won the case.
When he was pressed for hard evidence to back up his accusation that his phone had been hacked, he admits that he is speculating, however also went on to say that he would love to hear what the Sunday Mail and the Daily Mail’s source was, if it was not phone hacking.
He goes on to tell about an article that was published earlier in the year in two papers, the Daily Express and the Sun, about an emergency room visit he made to a hospital, citing the article as a “gross intrusion of my privacy.”
More stories included the press finding out about the mother of his child, Tinglan Hong, and harassing her relentlessly. He stated that there seemed to be a leak at the hospital seeing as the press even had the secret name Hong used to check into the hospital with.
He says that the press had made it virtually impossible to spend time with his infant daughter, due to their hounding, but apparently they have no issue with painting him as an absentee father. He expressed much resentment towards the criticism of his role as father, stating that the only reason he has stayed away was to try and protect his daughter and the mother of the child, with whom he is still friendly. He states that the tiny bit of time he did spend with her, brought down a media storm on the mother’s head, clearly making his point as to the ravenous behavior of the press, and what he had been trying to avoid. Hong was recently granted an injunction prohibiting harassment of her and the baby. Hong testified last week in the case.
Grant has become quite the outspoken campaigner against the press and their constant intrusion, calling for a media code of ethics and regulations to be put in place that would at least attempt to reduce the amount of heartless and sometimes shocking cases of privacy intrusion evident throughout his own life and the lives of other celebrities. He certainly has had more than his fair share of dealings with them intruding on his private life and he is not the only one. Due to testify later this week is Harry Potter author, J R Rowling, singer Charlotte Church, and actress Sienna Miller. There is clearly no limit as to what the British tabloids will go to, to get their news.
Hugh Grant believes that it is way past time for someone to stand up and say “enough is enough.” He is more than ready to lead the way.
- Hackers, Break-Ins, Baby Mamas: Hugh Grant Accuses More British Tabloids of Foul Play (eonline.com)
- Hugh Grant: UK Media is the ‘Privacy Invasion Industry’ (moviefone.com)
- Leveson Inquiry: Hugh Grant accuses other papers of taking part in phone hacking (telegraph.co.uk)
- Hugh Grant: I have no good name to protect, he tells Leveson inquiry (mirror.co.uk)