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Hugh Grant Settles Hacking, Burglary Lawsuit Against Murdoch’s Sun Tabloid | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


Topline

British actor Hugh Grant has agreed to settle his lawsuit against Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid the Sun after he accused the newspaper of tapping his phone, breaking into his house and car and illegally obtaining medical records—claims the paper’s publisher has denied.

Key Facts

Grant on Wednesday took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to say he’d “love” to see the Sun defend against his allegations in court, but that his lawyers warned it would likely end up costing him upwards of $12.5 million (£10 million) in legal fees, even if he won.

“I’m afraid I am shying at that fence,” Grant posted, adding that the “enormous sum of money” being offered to him by the publisher “has a stink” about it.

Grant did not specify the terms of the settlement, which is not an admission of guilt by News Group Newspapers, a spokesperson for the company told the BBC.

Grant is still part of a similar lawsuit against the publisher of the Daily Mail, DMG Media, with plaintiffs including Prince Harry, Elton John, Elizabeth Hurley, and others.

Crucial Quote

“If I proceed to trial and the court awards me damages that are even a penny less than the settlement offer, I would have to pay the legal costs of both sides,” Grant posted to X. “My lawyers tell me that that is exactly what would most likely happen here. Rupert Murdoch’s lawyers are very expensive.”

What To Watch For

Grant says he’ll donate much of the settlement money to the press reform campaign Hacked Off in the next general election “to expose the worst excesses of our oligarch-owned press.” The Hacked Off campaign was founded in 2011 in the wake of the News International scandal, when it was found Murdoch’s newspapers had been involved in phone hacking and other crimes in pursuit of news.

Key Background

Grant, best known for his role in films like “Notting Hill” and “Love Actually,” last year claimed reporters for the Sun burgled his flat, put a tracking device in his car, tapped his landline phone and hacked his voicemail messages in an effort to find stories about his personal life. He said his apartment in London was broken into back in 2011 and, while nothing was stolen, an article in the Sun the next day “detailed the interior of the flat.” He claimed the tabloid hired private investigators to break into properties connected to his company and that they illegally obtained the medical records of his first child to find out the child’s name despite her mother having given birth under a fake identity. News Group Newspapers has repeatedly denied such claims and told The Independent it “strongly refutes the allegation that it ever commissioned anyone to break into Hugh Grant’s home.”

Tangent

Grant says he was targeted by the Sun around the same time another Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid, the now-defunct News of the World, closed over claims members of its staff had hacked the phones of celebrities, politicians, the British royal family and private citizens. Since then, former staff members have spoken up about the culture at the newspaper and how ” almost any method was justified to get a front page scoop,” the Guardian reported. The paper kept cash in a safe in the newsroom to buy stories at the last minute, staffers told BBC Radio 4, and reporters would lie about their identities to obtain information. An investigation was opened by the British government called the Leveson Inquiry that later led to the arrest and convictions of several people involved, including managing editor Andy Coulson and reporter Paul McMullan, who famously said “privacy is for pedos.” Murdoch ultimately admitted that phone hacking took place.

Forbes Valuation

Murdoch is estimated to be the 97th richest person in the world as of Wednesday with a net worth of $19.7 billion. His media empire, from which he stepped down as chairman last year, includes Fox News, The Times of London and The Wall Street Journal.

Further Reading

BbcHugh Grant settles privacy case against Sun publisherthe GuardianHugh Grant claims the Sun burgled his flat to obtain private informationMORE FROM FORBESPrince Harry Will Get $500,000 In Tabloid Phone Hacking SettlementMORE FROM FORBESPrince Harry Awarded $180,000 In Damages After Court Rules He Was Victim Of Newspaper Phone Hacking

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