JK Rowling: UK press left me feeling under siege
In this image made from television, "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling, who has campaigned to keep her children out of the media glare, gives evidence about media intrusion during a media ethics inquiry in London, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011. The inquiry, led by Judge Brian Leveson, plans to issue a report next year and could recommend major changes to media regulation in Britain. (AP Photo/Parliamentary Recording Unit via APTN) NO ARCHIVES
LONDON (AP) — Writer J.K. Rowling and actress Sienna Miller gave a London courtroom a vivid picture on Thursday of the anxiety, anger and fear produced by living in the glare of Britain's tabloid media, describing how press intrusion made them feel like prisoners in their own homes.
The creator of boy wizard Harry Potter told Britain's media ethics inquiry that having journalists camped on her doorstep was "like being under siege and like being a hostage." Miller said years of car chases, midnight pursuits and intimate revelations had left her feeling violated, paranoid and anxious.
"The attitude seems to be absolutely cavalier," Rowling said. "You're famous, you're asking for it."
British actress Sienna Miller, arrives to testify at the Leveson inquiry at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011. The Leveson inquiry is Britain's media ethics probe that was set up in the wake of the scandal over phone hacking at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World, which was shut in July after it became clear that the tabloid had systematically broken the law. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
The pair were among a diverse cast of witnesses — Hollywood star Hugh Grant, a former soccer player, a former aide to supermodel Elle Macpherson and the parents of missing and murdered children — who have described how becoming the focus of Britain's tabloid press wreaked havoc on their lives.
Rowling said she was completely unprepared for the media attention she began to receive when her first book, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," became a sensation. The seven Potter books have sold more than 450 million copies, spawned a hit movie series and propelled Rowling from struggling single mother to one of Britain's richest people.
"When you become well-known ... no one gives you a guidebook," she said.