Despite the fact that Hugh Grant has been relatively absent from the film scene since 2009’s Did You Hear About the Morgans?, the British actor has been quite busy. Doing what, you ask? Why, helping take down Britain’s News of the World, which announced Thursday it would shut down following a hacking scandal involving murder victim Milly Dowler. (The publication had broken into Dowler’s voicemail while reporting the story.) As EW reported back in April, the 50-year-old actor wrote a piece for the New Statesman about how he secretly recorded former News of the World journalist Paul McMullan, who admitted that former editor Andy Coulson and owner Rupert Murdoch were aware that hacking occurred at the publication. Now, amidst the news that the publication is closing its doors, the actor is speaking out once again about his piece, and still fighting back against the journalist who exposed him to the publication’s immoral practice.
“I was revolted and astonished,” Grant told the BBC about when he learned his phone had been hacked.He noted that he was even more surprised to learn that the hacking practice occurred at most tabloids, and often times involved police. And McMullan also helped the actor get all the proof he needed that Dowler’s phone had been tapped into when the former News of the World journalist told Grant that the hacking “most certainly happened.”
Interestingly enough, the BBC also welcomed McMullan, who attempted to brush off Grant’s exposé by saying he was more upset that the actor didn’t pay for his beer on the day Grant recorded him. “It was hilarious,” McMullan said. “How can Hugh Grant coming into your pub with a silly little pen trying to record you be anything other than hilarious? I didn’t mind being turned over.” Then, however, the conversation got a bit more caustic, as McMullan tried to insist that readers had no sympathy for the invasion of privacy against Grant. After all, the actor picks up several million dollars for each film project — wasn’t any tabloid fodder about him part of the publicity game? Grant responded, “Do you think the family and friends of Milly Dowler … think that it’s a game? Think it’s funny? You think they’re earning $5 million quid a film? … You guys have no morals, no scruples at all. You didn’t care who got hurt, so long as you were able to sell your newspapers a lot of money. Your only motive was profit. You’re not journalists. You have no interest in journalism. It’s just money money money.”
Well, after Grant’s awesome takedown, I’ll say I’m even more excited for 2012’s The Pirates! Band of Misfits. Come back for good, Hugh!