The actor accuses the Mail of hacking his phone; J.K. Rowling to appear next
Hugh Grant testified before the U.K. Parliament on Monday, accusing another British tabloid of phone hacking.
While thus far the hacking cases have focused on the now-shuttered News of the World – and potentially the Sun – Grant accused the Mail on Sunday of invading his phone privacy for a February 2007 article about his relationship with Jemima Khan.
Grant testified on Monday on the same day as Bob and Sally Dowler, the parents of Milly Dowler, the murdered girl whose case ignited the hacking scandal in early July.
Grant said the only way the tabloid could have claimed he was having an affair with a Warner Bros. executive — a story based on supposed late-night phone calls — was through hacking.
The actor has been a vocal critic of the British press and is one of several celebrities suing News International, News Corp.’s British publishing subsidiary.
Other celebrity victims of hacking are set to testify before Parliament this week, such as "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling and actor Steve Coogan. Coogan will appear Tuesday, as will an adviser to model Elle MacPherson.
Buoyed by thousands of potential hacking cases, Grant listed numerous cases in which the press had invaded his privacy and criticized the entire tabloid culture.
“If the subject of the British tabloids came up, I took the line, which is to give either a neutral answer or flippant answer because to speak out and criticize is to invite a terrible press storm on your head or a hatchet job.” Grant said. “Their motive is money, it is always profit, why should I help them make money out of invading my privacy.”
He also claimed that privacy breaches have occurred at a number of papers and that his privacy is not of public interest. While he reiterated a commitment to a free press, he said that should not prohibit regulation.
“It is a commonly voiced opinion that you cannot in any way regulate, or improve, or legislate for the worst practices for the worst of journalists in this country without damaging free speech; without muzzling proper journalism and the phrase that is always used is 'don't throw the baby out with the baby,’” Grant said. “I have always said I don't think it is that difficult to tell what is bath water and what is a baby. To most people it is pretty obvious.”