Hugh Grant Blasts Police, M.p.s, On Phone Hacking Probes
Hugh Grant, one of the most outspoken celebrity victims of telephone hacking by the now-defunct British tabloid News of the World , has decried the decision by Scotland Yard to invoke the Official Secrets Act to force journalists working for Britain's Guardian newspaper to reveal their sources for reports alleging that News of the World reporters paid police for information. Ordinarily the Official Secrets Act is invoked in cases related to national security. Grant, calling the Scotland Yard decision "a very worrying and upsetting development," indicated that he had previously felt reassured by the new police investigation of the activities of the tabloid, owned by a division of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. "They were embarrassed by the behavior of their predecessors and colleagues. So for them to suddenly turn on their fellow goodies in this battle is a worrying and deeply mysterious," he said. Grant, who was speaking to a conference of the Liberal Democratic Party in Birmingham, also was critical of the kid-gloves treatment members of a parliamentary committee extended to Murdoch during an inquiry in August. "I mean for God's sake this was the one chance we have ever had to get the guy in the dock and suddenly everyone was slightly up his arse." As for Murdoch's odd behavior during the inquiry -- he appeared befuddled by some of the questions -- Grant said, "Speaking as a bad actor myself I thought Murdoch's performance was dodgy. Many of my sources tell me he was a hell of a lot sharper than that a week before." But as for the sharpness of his interrogators, Grant said, "I was shocked at how unsharp and how slightly starstruck the select committee members seemed."