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Hugh Grant Turns Tables On Murdoch And Bugs The Bugger

Reported by Aunty Em - April 13, 2011 -

The New Statesman has an interesting article by Hugh Grant, actor and scandal subject, on the subject of the News of the World phone hacking scandal that’s been roiling Rupert Murdoch’s British Empire. Ellen has been following the story so you don’t have to, but long story short: News of the World employees had been (allegedly) hacking the phones of Royals and celebrities alike to get scoops. Reporters have been arrested, as investigations continue to determine how high up the Murdoch food chain it goes. Also part of the probe: suggestions that Scotland Yard had squelched earlier investigations to continue its cozy relationship with the tabloid. Just this week NotW apologized and offered compensation to the victims. Yet Labour MP Tom Watson promised the investigation will continue, “The truth they still do not realize is that this scandal will never be over for Murdoch until we know the identities of everyone who carried out the phone hacking.” Hugh Grant only recently learned he was one of the victims when Justice Geoffrey Vos ordered Scotland Yard to privately release that information to the victims. Grant was bugged enough about his conversations being bugged that he turned the tables and bugged the bugger.

This occurred after Grant recently had a chance encounter with Paul McMullan, former NotW journalist, paparazzi photographer and the whistleblower who brought down the house of cards on the scandal. Finding McMullan an affable and talkative fellow, Grant returned with a hidden mic and caught the unrepentant (despite his whistleblower status) hacker unawares. “The Bugger, Bugged” is a long interview well worth reading, but here are some highlights about Murdoch:

Me: Do you think Murdoch knew about phone-hacking?

Him: Errr, possibly not. He's a funny bloke given that he owns the Sun and the Screws . . . quite puritanical. Sorry to talk about Divine Brown, but when that came out . . . Murdoch was furious: "What are you putting that on our front page for? You're bringing down the tone of our papers." [Indicating himself] That's what we do over here.
Me: Well, it's also because it was his film I was about to come out in.
Him: Oh. I see.
Me: Yeah. It was a Fox film.

[...]

Him: So anyway, let me finish my story.
Me: Murdoch, yes . . .
Him: So I was sent to do a feature on Moulin Rouge! at Cannes, which was a great send anyway. Basically my brief was to see who Nicole Kidman was shagging - what she was doing, poking through her bins and get some stuff on her. So Murdoch's paying her five million quid to big up the French and at the same time paying me £5.50 to fuck her up . . . So all hail the master. We're just pawns in his game. How perverse is that?

[...]

Me: So did you personally ever listen to my voice messages?
Him: No, I didn't personally ever listen to your voice messages. I did quite a lot of stories on you, though. You were a very good earner at times.

Grant summarizes:

Those are the highlights. As I drove home past the white cliffs, I thought it was interesting - apart from the fact that Paul hates people like me, and I hate people like him, we got on quite well. And, absurdly, I felt a bit guilty for recording him.



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