Hugh Grant on the phone tapping scandal: Americans should be concerned

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Hugh Grant and his grumpy hotness were on the Today Show yesterday to discuss the massive News Corp phone tapping scandal that rocked England and led to the voluntary shutdown of tabloid News of The World. Hugh was one of the first celebrities to draw attention to the issue when he caught a paparazzo on tape bragging about how NOTW had regularly hacked into famous people’s phones to gain leads for stories. Minor details of the scandal were known for some time, and there wasn’t much public outcry about it as people don’t tend to have a lot of sympathy for politicians or the rich and famous. Then the news came out that the scandal went much deeper, and that journalists and private investigators hired by the paper had violated the phones of crime victims, including a missing 13 year-old teenager, families of fallen soldiers and terrorist bombing victims. It was despicable, and the eventual result was a government inquiry and now the arrest of several key executives at News of the World.

In his interview with The Today Show, Matt Lauer asked Hugh why Americans should be concerned about this scandal. He reminded him that News Corp head Rupert Murdoch owns Fox News, 20th Century Fox movie studio and newspapers like the NY Post and The Wall St. Journal. What’s more is that there’s suspicion that victims of the 9/11 tragedy had their phones tapped too.

Wednesday morning on TODAY, Grant spoke with Matt Lauer about the culture of the tabloid press in the U.K., telling Lauer that until the peak of the scandal, when it was revealed the phone of a 13-year-old murder victim was hacked, people believed the paper’s methods were business as usual, and perhaps a justifiable means to an end, so long as the story sold.

“Yeah, that was the culture and still is to a certain extent within the tabloid press in this country. It’s terrifying and if you want to question why didn’t we do anything about it before, the answers are now emerging,” Grant said.

“The police unfortunately deliberately dragged their feet … and the government were equally terrified of him (Murdoch),” Grant said. “He had the power through his papers to get them elected, and his paper knew dirty details about individual MPs (Members of Parliament) and so they were unwilling ever to take him on. Only three weeks ago, all our major politicians were sucking up to Rupert Murdoch and drinking champagne on his lawn at his summer party. It’s almost comic that today they’re almost competing to say terrible words about him.”

Grant did tread more lightly when Lauer asked how concerned those of us in the United States should be about the scandal. However, the actor did say that there’s good reason to question Murdoch here as well.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” he told Lauer. However, “Rupert Murdoch does own an enormous amount of your media, with Fox news and stations, and 20th Century Fox, and some of your newspapers. I think people need to ask themselves, ‘Who is this man who owns such a large part of our media?'”

Ultimately, this story will come down to the issue of blame. In addition to those directly involved at News of the World, should we, the consumers of the news gathered by whatever means possible, shoulder the blame as well? Grant thinks so.
“I think we have to, yeah. It’s a strange business, isn’t it? The speciality of tabloids like that is to find the most common denominator and work out sort of, our worst instincts, and purvey for them and unfortunately they do it extremely well and we are all guilty of falling for that.”

[From The Today Show]

Maybe I’m alone, but Grant still does it for me. He’s older sure but he’s owning it and isn’t getting all jacked to hell like his ex’s latest boytoy. You could tell that Grant got a kick out of recounting how the MPs were partying and drinking with Murdoch up until the latest news broke about how NOTW tapped victims’ phones. He’s had plenty of issues with paparazzi and the tabloid press and he’s having his day now.

As for how this affects the US, Senators are calling for an investigation as to whether 9/11 victims had their phone tapped too. Families of victims are outraged and upset over this potential breach, which brings up so many bad memories for them.

Also, bribes given by News Corp employees to British law enforcement sources may violate US laws prohibiting US employees from paying bribes abroad. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NY) asked the Securities and Exchange commission and Department of Justice to launch an investigation as to whether this was the case. The parent organization of NOTW, News Corp, is a US company.

Maybe this will put a big dent into Murdoch’s media empire. One can only hope.

Update: Thanks to Gloaming for this video of Hugh Grant on BBC News along with the journalist from NOTW he exposed a few months ago. Hugh is awesome.

Hugh Grant is shown on 7/4/11. The dude looks a lot happier lately. Credit:



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61 Responses to “Hugh Grant on the phone tapping scandal: Americans should be concerned”

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  1. gee says:

    I love Hugh Grant. That’s all.

    Intelligent, witty, socially aware, non tweaked wrinkled [hot]. All. Forms. Of. Hot.

  3. Celebitchy says:

    That was awesome gloaming, I’ll update with that thanks!

  4. Testarosa says:

    Hugh Grant certainly knows of what he speaks. As a follow-up to gloaming’s YouTube link, here is a written transcript of Hugh getting some revenge.

  5. the original bellaluna says:

    Yep, he’s still hot. He’s not jacked his face up with all that filler and plastic surgery.

    One can only hope that Murdoch and his heinous empire will be brought down here and abroad. I’d love to see him branded a pariah.

    EDIT: Bloody brilliant @ gloaming

  6. really says:

    Love Hugh Grant, yes he is older and even more sexy!

    No Kaiser, you are not alone, HUGH is still doing it!

  7. Shay says:

    He is really rolling his sleeves up on this one and good on him.
    If Rupert is behind the hacking in the UK, chances are more will follow in the US.
    I read an interview with Murdoch a few years ago where the journalist revealed the Murdoch’s puerile thrills. Namely that he dies for gossip.

    Rupert Murdoch is a one man axis-of-evil.

  8. katnip says:

    It funny because I have read a lot of comments on this.. and the thing that struck me was that for the most part a lot of people were fine with them Hacking and tapping phones and such on celebrities for those stupid covers, but when they did it to “regular people” all hell broke loose. It was wrong irregardless of who the victims were. Just because you are celebrity does not mean you loose all your right as a human being. All these tabloids need to be put out of business. Lies and no accountability. nothing. And when they are allowed to do it to THEM.. then people scream just as loud.. because sooner than later you become a THEM too.

    Murdock is not the only one and I hope his fall is quick and that other follow right behind him

  9. gloaming says:

    No problem CB!

    I saw it when Thom Yorke posted it on Radiohead’s Dead Air Space. The last couple of minutes are indeed awesome.

    The BBC have just reported that Rebekkah Wade will be dodging questions about this next Tuesday in front of MP’s.

  10. kiko says:

    god i like him even more now!he looks so mature and oh god SEXY!

  11. Miss Marie says:

    Kaiser, this is a genuine appreciation of you, for bringing a big story to this page. It is quite alarming to read comments here, on this story. Eveyone has an opinion about the hottie Hugh, but practically nobody is reflecting on the bigger issue – the scandalous phone tapping and what it means to our “bigger” world. It backs up my belief that many people in today’s society don’t want to worry their pretty little heads about anything that doesn’t have to do with celebrity.
    Kaiser, please continue to incorporate fun and seriousness. It would help a lot of your readers realize there are some serious injustices going on, that they should pay attention to. The saying is true – ignorance is not bliss.

  12. georgiagrl says:

    NewsCorp is the devil and Karma is a bitch huh Murdoch?? I wouldn’t be surprised when Fox News is “caught”

  13. Vickyb says:

    Ugh. Paul McMullan is hideous, and this whole unravelling mess has been disgusting. McMullan, and pretty much everyone involved at a senior level, have behaved dispicably since this came out. McMullan just jokes about Hugh Grant not paying for his drinks, and completely sidesteps the seriousness of these allegations of phone hacking. Rebekah Brooks *still* has her job as CEO of News International and has to say anything of real substance, by way of an apology. And the puppet master himself, Rupert Murdoch, couldn’t care less – why should he worry about further police enquiries, judicial enquiries or discussions in parliament – he’s bribed them all before, and will bribe them all again. As long as he has his empire, and his money, he couldn’t care less. Genuinely evil.

    There has been a comprehensive lack of morals and ethics in British journalism, and a complete poisoning of the British (tabloid) press.

    Good for Hugh Grant.

  14. Vickyb says:

    @Miss Marie – totally!

    The thing I’m desperate to know is… what does Rebekah Brooks have on Murdoch that he’s sacrificing 250 staff, a newspaper, the BSkyB bid and further condemnation, rather than sack her/accept her alleged resignation. She DEFINITELY knows where the bodies are buried…

  15. mogul says:

    He does it for me, everytime i see his face i have to smile.

  16. gloaming says:

    @Testerosa Thanks for the link.

    And for the sake of fairness.

    Let’s air some of Rebekkah Brookes dirty laundry.

  17. Elizabeth says:

    Nothing is sexier than a man who stands up to big bullies and takes them down. Good show, Mr. Grant!

  18. MsLib says:

    Thanks CB for sharing this. It is great to see celebs who care about the world and then do something about the injustices they see.

    Hugs for Hugh

  19. Nat says:

    Just something I noticed. Hugh looks very similar to a Ken version of Elizabeth’s Hurley boyfriend?

    Is it just me or do see it too?

  20. the original bellaluna says:

    Yes, it’s a big bad thing (hence my use of the word “heinous” in my previous comment). NO ONE should have their phones hacked or tapped.

    But here in the US, they do it all the time under the guise of “National Security” so maybe that’s why there’s less outrage here. Or maybe it’s because the full-fledged scandal hasn’t hit our shores yet.

  21. flutters says:

    I am LOVING your coverage of this story here! Thanks CB and Kaiser.

    It’s so useful that an articulate celebrity can be the face of this for the media because it helps gets this story out there even more. Let’s face it, the US media wouldn’t be as interested in this UK scandal if there weren’t a celebrity face to interview. But Hugh Grant is asking the right questions about why Americans should be concerned and now the US media is covering it some too.

  22. Nanea says:

    I’ve been wondering for years if people will eventually wake up and realize that Faux News is anything but news.

    As I’ve said in other threads before this it’s a shame The Guardian was a lone voice in keeping this alive for years and years and now gets blamed by the Prime Minister that they didn’t warn him again and again that his former director of communication, the former NotW editor Andy Coulson, was a bad apple when he didn’t listen to them the first time around, very much in the vein of Paul McMullan, who’s trying to blame Hugh and other celebrities that their phones were tapped.

  23. e.non says:

    i wouldn’t at all be surprised to see that newscorp has been involved in scummy things on this side — esp with roger ailes at the helm. it’s repeatedly been shown that the fox audience is the most ill/un-informed of all media groups. the noxious political environment that fox has exploited has caused tremendous damage to this country.

  24. tooey says:

    Yes. Yes to the Hugh. Always.

  25. Blank says:

    This made me regain all respect for him. He’s seriously awesome here 🙂

  26. Mr. Greek says:

    Miss Marie wrote:

    “Kaiser, please continue to incorporate fun and seriousness. It would help a lot of your readers realize there are some serious injustices going on, that they should pay attention to. The saying is true – ignorance is not bliss.”

    I wholeheartedly agree with this request. Kaiser, you and CB are each sublime writers, and there is a plethora of intelligent individuals on here who would love to, from time to time, discuss some serious and pertinent global issues – who would like to engage in some meaningful dialogue. Please consider it. The net is now the chief resource millions around the world go to for the real story.

    And, yes, I too agree with those who are disgusted with “Faux News” and the like; their biased, right-winged propaganda they pollute the airwaves with.

  27. phlyfiremama says:

    News Corp is pure evil, no question about it. They, in the guise of Fox news particularly, deliberately & knowingly print & broadcast blatant untruths & outright lies to an unsuspecting & unknowing public who trusts them to have a certain level of journalistic integrity & tell them the whole, real, actual truth. In 2005, they sued for & WON the right to lie to the public. Shame on that judgement, and shame on the powers that be that have let this continue unchecked. Please keep news like this coming to this forum. Weapons of mass distraction can work both ways, use this one to educate & enlighten people who have been fooled for so long.

  28. Testarosa says:

    @gloaming: Much obliged and thanks for your (three!) links. And, yeah, there’s plenty of dirty laundry to be aired where Rebekah Brooks is concerned. Just read this morning that she is widely expected to resign next week after being questioned by a House of Commons Committee. Same article said she might take over one of Murdoch’s Australian interests. How appropriate if “Our Ms. Brooks” were to end up in a former penal colony.

  29. REALIST says:

    We should be concerned, about cell phones AND e-mail.
    Privacy on the web is an illusion; my way of rationalizing it is that I am a nobody so no one is tracking what I write (except maybe the NSA-a possible leftover from Bush/Cheney).
    Good for Hugh! It’s nice to see him stand up for a worthy cause!

  30. lrm says:

    No you are not alone!
    I always love Hugh Grant-always have since his early movie days….
    and this just proves that he is as intelligent as he comes off in his roles….and other interviews.
    I have never been embarrassed to say it-it’s not just b/c he’s ‘cute’-but his comedic timing reveals true intelligent wit-and i always fall for that…..

    i used to hear that in the UK he was maligned and made fun of as a faux actor of sorts-
    but herei n the USA-i gotta say i always enjoy him on screen….[except for have you heard about the morgans-but i dont think that was entirely his fault, or even his fault at all!]

    anyway, yea, what else can be said about this media insanity and violations thereof?

    it’s not new-just new to most people.
    i would love for this to be the changing tide, now that we have so many more options/technology for our information and networking, but history shows it will just be the news story of the day [ironic,huh?] and then it will be biz as usual….

    Or murdoch will start a ‘kinder gentler newspaper’ and fool everyone into thinking we’ve created change! but it will just be a different kind of control over the media and public’s minds….

  31. Testarosa says:

    @REALIST: Your points are so valid. I think this telephone hacking scandal could eventually extend to e-mail territory. I have read of at least one parent of a British soldier killed in Afghanistan who has always sensed that his son’s personal e-mail account had been somehow compromised but, yet, felt he never had a way to prove as much. I sincerely hope that that father can somehow obtain a decisive answer for a question that has nagged him for years.

  32. Az says:

    Hmmm… I do think Hugh Grant is handsome, he just doesn’t do it for me. But I can see going on a date with him because besides being easy on the eyes he is also a very intelligent man and that’s always fun. I don’t think one would run out of things about which to talk with Hugh.

    As for Murdoch… why am I not surprised he owns Fox News? And isn’t Fox News an oxymoron anyway? If they have been bugging phones here in the US there is going to be a major sh*tstorm when it gets out.

  33. Mr. Greek says:

    Realist wrote: “We should be concerned, about cell phones AND e-mail.
    Privacy on the web is an illusion; my way of rationalizing it is that I am a nobody so no one is tracking what I write (except maybe the NSA-a possible leftover from Bush/Cheney).”

    I think if Americans truly knew both the reasoning behind and the actual meaning of the Patriot Act, there would be a second Amercian Revolution underway. There are no rights of privacy any longer, thanks to George Dubya Bush, Cheney, and their henchmen.

  34. lrm says:

    side note; i just watched the youtube with that NOTW ‘reporter’-omg he is actually justifying tapping celebs phones b/c they make alot of money per film and it contributes to PR for their films….
    okay buddy-whatever you say.
    while i dont feel sympathy for a celeb caught with a hooker for example….i do believe their cell messages should be private.

    And obv. it’s a given that crime victims such as mentioned should not have their phones hacked….
    I cannot believe that was even a discussion.

    Whether or not we truly have privacy with internet, phones, etc [of course we do not truly, in reality], we should have the legal right to privacy respected by a tabloid news source. Of course, with the new ‘grey definition’ of access to public information since 9/11 and follow up legislation, anyone can be targeted for virtually any reason. Semantics are nothing to scoff at anymore….

    why am i even wasting brain cells writing this-
    i just cannot believe that guy being interviewed-but i quite think he likes the press/attention anyway….

  35. Anti-icon says:

    This issue concerns me so much — as a society and also personally, and I’m not a celebrity or a public figure in any way. But, my phones have been tapped….and I don’t know who authorized it. And through a variety of “excuses” which are plausible, I can never know how it was done….even though I gather/ed evidence for years. So, THANK YOU HUGH GRANT. For bringing this VERY IMPORTANT story of what is happening to Rupert Murdock’s empire and how it was built and maintained.

  36. Jana says:

    I’m in love all over again with Hugh. He had lost his luster for me a couple of years ago. Good for Hugh. Not only witty but very articulate and seems to have a keen intelligence. I hope those at the top fall, instead of being protected. Forget George Clooney. Give me Hugh any day.

  37. Nymeria says:

    @ Mr. Greek – Bush / Cheney certainly did introduce the Patriot Act, but Obama not only signed it back into power last month, he also added to it & made it stronger and, if possible, scarier. Go check it out for yourself. Obama is continuing the violation of Americans’ rights via the Patriot Act.

  38. Mr. Greek says:

    @ Nymeria: Yes, I am fully aware that “The Chosen One” (by the illuminati) amended the Patriot Act, and this alone should be the catalyst to awaken Americans to the reality of their world; sadly, far too many are too dumbed down to consider the horrific consequences they, and all of us, will contend with. Obama carries no real power – he is the puppet of the global corporate regime.

    Patriot Act: George Orwell’s worst prophetic nightmare realized.

  39. anti says:

    Loved the bit on the Daily Show this week that showed Mr. Grant as the hero in this… It was hilarious too. 🙂

    Yay, Hugh!

  40. Mr. Greek says:

    Americans should also wake up and realize they dwell in a land where democracy is a mere illusion. It matters not whether a politician is Democratic or Republican; both parties, for decades, take their orders from the CFR and Trilateral Commission members, such as the Rockerfeller and Bush family, to name but two clans.

    Yet the “show” goes on for the public re elections, and the masses are deluded into thinking there are two opposing sides in Washington.

  41. Anti-icon says:

    #21: The Original bellaluna, you said

    “But here in the US, they do it all the time under the guise of “National Security” so maybe that’s why there’s less outrage here. Or maybe it’s because the full-fledged scandal hasn’t hit our shores yet.”

    I beg your pardon? IF THIS IS DONE ALL THE TIME IN THE US, please share specific examples. This violates many of our country’s constitutional protections as free citizens/individuals. The Patriot Act is SUPPOSED to work within the constitution. If you know that it does not, please share. I’m sure there are people who wouldn’t mind pressing charges….if they knew they were not alone in this very, very shady practice. That is NOT CONDONED by LAW.

  42. mln76 says:

    As much as I love Hugh Grant I hate that it’s become a story about celebrity hacking and even the idea that the most shocking value of the hacking of victims of 9/11 and missing persons. OF COURSE THAT’S DESPICABLE BEHAVOIR but for me the scary part is a man with these kinds of tactics may be tapping lawmakers on 3 different continents and using that information to blackmail politicians and influence the public at large with his worldwide media corporation. It’s pretty f-ing sick.

  43. Mr. Greek says:

    News Corp is one of five, FIVE major conglomerates that own and control the WORLD’S major media companies, both print and television. FIVE, people. For far, far too long journalism has been been greatly altered and manipulated by the giants of corporate industry, who control and censor what the public recieves, “news wise”. This is dangerous, and counterproductive to allowing the truth to be questioned by journalists and subsequently offered to the public for them to formulate their own opinions, based on fact and unbiased delivery of the news.

    These five conglomerates are headed by scum like Murdoch; all are members of either the CFR, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg group, or all three. These corrupt men and women know they cannot control what the public thinks…but they can control what the public thinks about.

    There is a sea change in the air, and more and more people are waking up to the fact that the “truth” as has been presented to them for far too long is rife with utter lies, spin, and plays into the hands of the corporate elite, who have their own agenda well established.

    The internet is changing all of that…we now have myriad of online sources and credible, free-thinking non-mainstream journalists who will not be bought and subjucated by the corrupt.

  44. Mr. Greek says:

    …or rather…a sea change in progress…not “in the air”. My bad.

  45. Sloane Wyatt says:

    “You should try real journalism, Paul, ’cause you’re not an idiot. You could probably do it!” – Hugh Grant

    I have been following this story for days, and these kinds of stories are why I love Celebitchy! This is a perfect example of REAL journalism.

    Evil tool Murdoch, owner of Faux News, needs to be in jail!

    Go, Hugh, you hunk of normally aging man!

  46. jane16 says:

    This issue concerns me very much. Americans are letting privacy slip away under the guise of “security”, phone tappings, book records being taken, the tsa at the airports, etc. Its gone way too far. We need to stand up and take our rights back.

  47. Callumna says:

    The New York Times printed front page stories about WMD’s that were planted there by the White House to drum up support for the war in Iraq, and then MSNBC had countless members of the Bush admin on their station quoting those leaked New York Times articles as reasons we needed to rush to war.

    I assume the New York Times/ MSNBC scandalous collusions with the gov’t that led to war are as much of a concern to you as the as yet unproved nefarious probs at Fox hinted at by a hooker’s angry, criminal John?

  48. Sloane Wyatt says:

    @48. You assume correctly that I’m angry and disgusted that a scarily huge portion of Big Media is cynically trying to feed us a bill of goods.

    However, Fox IS owned by one of the heads of ‘snake’ that’s currently in the limelight. It gives me nightmares how much corrupt and evil people spy, lie, and ‘govern’.

  49. Sloane Wyatt says:

    @47. Agreed. Librarians are astonishing champions of our rights to privacy when they refuse to turn over patron’s book records. We need to stand up.

  50. Turtle Dove says:

    Great irony that a lowly actor that was tapped and hated the paps and media is the one that blew the lid open about this event. He did so quite eloquently and with humor.

    Of course, there was speculation in the media that this was occurring, but Hugh did a great service for all people whose rights to privacy were violated.

  51. mln76 says:

    @Calluma however misguided the NYT/MSNBC stories may have been the journalists wrote in good faith contacting people in our government they assumed were credible sources their mistake was more wimpyness, naivety, and laziness then actual malicious intent. There is no comparison to the behavior by the NOTW and possibly other Murdoch assets including FOX News. However unproven the accusations are the fact that Murdoch chose to SHUT DOWN HIS ENTIRE PAPER give strong evidence that the accusations have merit and that this may very well be the tip of the iceberg in this scandal.

  52. Nymeria says:

    @ Mr Greek – Your posts are intelligent and insightful. And I agree with you on all the major points you presented.

    The Patriot Act is so depressing that I find I have to resort to thinking of you in drag (a comment posted on the CO$ thread from the last few days) to cheer myself up.

  53. Laura says:

    Sigh, I love Hugh Grant. He still does it for me.

  54. april says:

    Love him. Love his sense of humor and intelligence. Bless him for going after Murdoch.

  55. the original bellaluna says:

    @ Kaiser & CB – Just read that Brooks has resigned.

    @ AntiIcon – Read the Patriot Act. The amended one, as approved by our current POTUS.

  56. Sloane Wyatt says:

    IMO,The ‘Horrible Bosses’ are government officials in bed with corrupt media owners, and George Orwell’s ‘1984’ has already happened right here in the USA!

    We NEVER see anti trust laws and anti monopoly laws applied to media conglomerates and Big Oil, etc., freakin’ etc. When our land’s court has declared corporations to be individuals, for the purpose of obscenely huge political donations, we all better wake up and dissent or keep going like we are – holding on to our ankles and kissing our ass goodbye.

  57. Sloane Wyatt says:


  58. Anti-icon says:

    #56 the original bella luna: yes, I have read it. I’ve made myself physically sick over worrying over it…….particularly when it was SIGNED BACK INTO EFFECT.

    specific examples is what is needed. And, unfortunately, victims rarely get to know who is their persecutor, so that prosecution can be initiated.

    If Murdoch goes down — I mean having his citizenship revoked — that would be a sign that our current POTUS does care about separating actual threatening criminals from citizens.

    It is absolutely terrifying the scope of this “legislation.”

    Thanks for the feedback. ; )

  59. Sloane Wyatt says:

    @ the orignal bellaluna: Rebekah Brooks arrested!

    Gawd, please let it be Rupert Murdoch next.

  60. says:

    awaiting FOX figureheads to begin un-boarding this ship faster than the elite from the Titanic.