Hugh Grant has taken a stand in Leveson Inquiry into press standards, and wasted no time in dragging another British tabloid into the phone hacking scandal. In his testimony on Monday, November 21, the "Music and Lyrics" actor suggested that Mail On Sunday might have hacked his phone. The tabloid, however, was quick to deny the allegations.
"The Mail on Sunday utterly refutes Hugh Grant's claim that they got any story as a result of phone hacking," a spokesman for the tabloid said in response. "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."
On Monday, Grant told Lord Justice Leveson, "The Mail on Sunday ran an article in February 2007 saying that my relationship with my then-girlfriend Jemima Khan was on the rocks because of my persistent late-night flirtatious phone calls with a 'plummy voiced' studio executive from Warner Bros. And it was a bizarre story, completely untrue."
The "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" star added that the only explanation he could think of about how the tabloid "could possibly come up with such a bizarre, left-field story" was the voice messages left by a friend's middle-aged female assistant, whose voice "could only be described as plummy", on his mobile telephone.
Joining the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowle at the inquiry, Grant also suggested that a newspaper might have broken into his London flat in 1995 after he was caught with a prostitute in Hollywood. "The day after that a detailed account of what the interior of my flat looked like appeared in one of the British tabloid papers," he said.
"This was at a time when there was a lot of press outside all the time desperate to get in. It was the middle of the summer and I know they were listening," he continued. "It was four floors up and they could hear one or two of the rows I was having at the time, so I know they were desperate to get some kind of access."
Grant also stated in his testimony, "There has been a section of our press that has become allowed to become toxic over the last 20 or 30 years and its main tactic is by bullying and intimidation and blackmail. I think that that needs a lot of courage to stand up to and I think this country's had a historically good record standing up to bullies, and I think it's time the country found the courage to stand up to this bully now."