Hugh Grant gives two-and-a-half hours of testimony in British phone-hacking case

Dylan Stableford
November 22, 2011

Hugh Grant gave more than two-and-a-half hours of testimony to the Parliament committee leading the inquiry into British phone-hacking on Monday.

Grant told the committee that he believes his voicemail was hacked by the Mail on Sunday in 2007, resulting in a story that claimed his relationship Jemima Khan was "on the rocks" because of the actor's "persistent late night flirtatious phone calls with a plummy-voiced studio executive at Warner Bros."

"It was a bizarre story, completely untrue," Grant said, explaining that he used to receive voicemails from a "middle-aged, married" studio assistant "whose voice could only be described as plummy."

"I cannot for the life of me think of any source for this story other than those voice messages on my mobile phone," he said.

Later during his testimony, Grant inferred that the Daily Mail obtained information about the birth of his daughter from the hospital where she was born by paying for medical records. "It must have been someone with access to the computer where you register," he said. "I suspect it was someone at the hospital being on a retainer from either a tabloid newspaper or picture agency ... I'm quite sure, or my opinion is, that was the source."

The Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail promptly released statements denying Grant's allegations:

Mail on Sunday utterly refutes Hugh Grant's claim that they got any story as a result of phone hacking. In fact in the case of the story Mr. Grant refers to the information came from a freelance journalist who had been told by a source who was regularly speaking to Jemima Khan. Mr. Grant's allegations are mendacious smears driven by his hatred of the media.

The Daily Mail unequivocally denies Hugh Grant's allegation that it secured information about the birth of his child from a source at the hospital. In fact the information came from a source in his show business circle more than two weeks AFTER the birth. We then spent a further two weeks seeking a response to the story from his publicists. None was forthcoming and indeed we did not publish anything until Grant's publicist issued a statement describing the baby as the product of a 'fleeting affair.' Throughout the Mail behaved with total journalistic propriety.

Grant concluded his testimony by slamming tabloid journalism, reciting what he says are the 10 myths about the press ("Myth No 2. Privacy breaches only happened at the News of the World"; "Myth 8: All sex exposés have a public interest.")

"I don't want to see the end of popular print journalism," Grant said. "A free press is the cornerstone of democracy there is no question about that. I just think there is a section of our press that has allowed to become toxic over the last 30 years."