English actor Hugh Grant testified at a public inquiry at the Royal Courts of Justices, about phone hacking and British newspaper standards today, MSNBC reported.
Grant targeted the British tabloid, The Mail on Sunday, the first newspaper not owned by Rupert Murdoch to come under fire in England. He claimed the paper hacked his phone in 2007. Grant also criticized the Daily Mail, the weekday sister of The Mail on Sunday, for its coverage of the recent announcement of his daughter’s birth, MSNBC reported.
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Grant said the Daily Mail paid a former lover of his daughter’s mother $150,000 to get private photos of her.
The British celebrity’s testimony was given to a media ethics inquiry. Earlier in the inquiry, Bob and Sally Dowler, the parents of the parents of a murdered British schoolgirl, Milly Dowler, testified. Their phone was hacked by Murdoch’s News of the World, and in their testimony they described how the hacking gave them false hope their daughter was still alive, the Associated Press reported.
Grant testified that The Mail on Sunday published a story in 2007 claiming he was having an affair with a Los Angeles woman while he was dating writer Jemima Khan, ABC reported. He believed the story was based on voicemails left by a business associate and stated he was not having an affair.
"She would leave charming, joking messages. ... And she had a voice that can only be described as plummy," Grant testified, ABC reported. "I cannot for the life of me think of any conceivable source for this story in The Mail on Sunday except for these messages on voicemail." Even though Grant had no proof the paper actually hacked his phone, he sued for libel and won.
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Grant is not the only high-profile figure to testify this week. Actress Sienna Miller and acclaimed author J.K. Rowling will also appear before parliament, Reuters reported.