Rupert Murdoch has made a public apology to Hugh Grant for suggesting on Twitter that the actor had abandoned his "love child."
Murdoch made the accusation in a stream of tweets in response to an Australian news report alleging that he called celebrity phone-hacking victims — Grant is one — "scumbags," as recounted here by the Fairfax media.
When one of Murdoch's Twitter followers asked the question of him, "Scumbugs? And your journalists and executives are what?" he tweeted:
"They don't get arrested for indecency on major LA highways! Or abandon love child's," an obvious reference to Grant's 1995 dalliance with the Hollywood prostitute Estella Thompson, aka Divine Brown, the Global Mail wrote.
According to The Guardian, Grant was furious enough to be weighing legal options.
By way of apology, Murdoch tweeted:
Hugh Grant states that he is deeply involved in his daughter's life - I accept that,regret tweet on the matter. Apologiesto both parents. — Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) October 18, 2012
He also clarified the initial offending tweet:
I did not say all celebrities were scumbags.Check my tweet. And apology to any who misunderstood. — Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) October 18, 2012
The Hollywood Reporter pointed out that the company Murdoch chairs, News Corp., has been "at odds" with Grant for over a year now, largely due to phone hacking.
Grant recently became a director of Hacked Off, a not-for-profit company calling for curbs on the invasion of privacy by paparazzi and reporters.
Murdoch has come in for regular criticism since he joined Twitter on Jan. 1, as he began targeting politicians on both sides of the Atlantic, commenting on the economic management in many countries — particularly Europe — and " bemoaned the state of press regulation in the UK."
According to Sky News, Murdoch has more than 344,000 followers on Twitter.