July 7th, 2011
04:24 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Actor Hugh Grant, who has himself been the subject of intense tabloid attention, is now leading the charge for a public inquiry into “the whole culture of tabloid press” in the UK.

In an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest, Grant urged the public and advertisers to boycott the Murdoch publication, News of the World, which is embroiled in an escalating controversy over allegations that reporters hacked into phones to listen to private messages.

News of the World, the world's top-selling English-language newspaper, is owned by News International, which also owns the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times in Britain. Murdoch's News Corps media empire also encompasses Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and Harper Collins publishers.

“People can vote very much with their wallets - they just don’t have to buy these papers, especially the News of the World,” Grant said. “And advertisers have to look themselves very hard in the mirror and ask themselves, ‘Do we want to be advertising in papers like the News of the World?’”

Many advertisers are now asking that question. Carmakers Ford and Vauxhall, Virgin Holidays, Halifax and the Co-operative Group are among those to say they are withdrawing adverts that were scheduled to run in the newspaper.

Asked by Quest what advertisers should do, Grant said: “Do the right thing. If you look at the Internet there has been an enormous wave of goodwill towards Ford for having the courage, the spine and the conscience to do what’s right, and I think other companies would enjoy a similar wave of goodwill if they did the same.”

Responding to the phone hacking allegations, Murdoch's News Corp. said Wednesday: "We are committed to addressing these issues fully and have taken a number of important steps to prevent them from happening again."

“I think just like the government (other advertisers are) hoping to kick the thing somewhat into the long grass - a news event will come up, you know, and the pressure will die down,” Grant said. “That’s why it’s the job of rather unlikely people like me to keep the pressure up … it’s not going to come from politicians, it’s certainly not much going to come from the police.

“So as I say it’s left up to a few unlikely souls like myself – who will be slaughtered for what we’re doing,” said Grant, saying he expects more reprisals from tabloid press.

“They’ll dig up more dirt – and it’s never really difficult especially with me,” said Grant, whose 1995 arrest for soliciting a prostitute in 1995 was a tabloid sensation.

Now Grant has turned the tables of the tabloid press. “It began with just a personal grievance because I was a victim of phone hacking and then I had this extraordinary piece of luck,” Grant said, when he ran into an ex-features editor from the News of World. He started boasting about hacking me, hacking everyone, all the dirty tricks of the news of the world, their sinister relationship with the Metropolitan Police, their relationship with the Prime Minister, and I thought it was all both fascinating and utterly repulsive.

“So subsequently I went back to see him, he now runs a pub in Dover, and I dropped in for a pint and a chat and bugged him … I was wearing a wire and got him talking all this stuff again.” The result was an article on the tactic in the British paper, the New Statesman.

“That was sort of the beginning of my obsession with this and my outrage because it's one thing for there to be a very bad newspaper in the country, but when you start to realize it's not one but all our tabloids who've been shockingly out of control for a long time,” Grant said. “When you realize how much collusion there's been from the police and how much collusion there's been from our lawmakers, from our government who need these tabloids, especially the Murdoch press to get elected.

“You start to think I'm not proud of my country anymore. This is not the democracy I thought I was proud of,” Grant said.

soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Vic

    It is astonishing that Fox News does not appear to have written so much as a word about this story.

    July 7, 2011 at 5:22 am |
  2. Vic

    Ps. Only Fox Business the somewhat less ideological (at least politically) wing of Murdoch's broadcast news has mentioned this story

    July 7, 2011 at 5:24 am |
  3. Western media is so corrupt

    Western media, especially from the US and UK, are terribly corrupt. They'll do anything for money. They'll even kill people for it. In contrast, Singapore recently imprisoned a British author who criticized Singapore's government. Transparency International rates Singapore as the least corrupt in the world. Singapore's Chinese-styled authoritarian government is a model for everyone to follow.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:47 am |
  4. Mac

    Hugh Grant has just become an unlikely hero of mine.
    Time to topple the Murdoch Evil Empire.

    July 7, 2011 at 8:32 am |
  5. BB

    More like "Who? Grant". Who cares what some celebrity thinks about this criminal hacking?

    July 7, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  6. Kitiara

    As long as they don't transport Murdoch back to Aust....

    July 7, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  7. Check the facts CNN

    The Times of India is the largest circulated English-language daily newspaper in the world

    July 7, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  8. But Wait...

    Whilst I shocked over the hacking claims....genuine people will be employed by New of the World and they must now be fearful of retaining their jobs. The people directly responsible need to be punished, not the group as a whole.

    July 7, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  9. Elizabeth

    I admire the businesses in the UK for boycotting not only the News of the World, but some (Mitsubishi) have made charitable contributions with the money they would've spent on the ad space.

    Unfortunately, the line between attention/buzz and good business is so blurry here in the US, I could never hope for this kind of reaction here.

    (BB – you should click through and read that article, and get informed. Grant isn't just a celebrity – he was a victim too.)

    July 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  10. xjdavid

    On NPR, Grant said this crime targets the rich, not "ordinary" people. LOL What an arrogant putz.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  11. breezin' thru

    considering the inevitable backlash i think it's a bit classy for Hugh to take on the Murdoch empire. Go Hugh!

    July 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  12. Laura

    I've always loved Hugh Grant as an actor. I like him even more now!

    July 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  13. LiamPS

    @BB – do you think truth should be suppressed just because it came via a celebrity? (Who did more to uncover the truth than the offical police investgators, News International, and the UK Parliament).

    How would you feel if it was your lines being hacked and your personal detail and foibles being published for everyone else's profit and entertainment.

    July 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  14. Josefina Fonseca

    Hugh Grant is one of my favorite actors. I respect actors because their job, which we pay them to do is a very difficult profession. Hugh, you must remain handsome for your employer's (us). Please lose weight. You are beginning to lose your features which we fell in love with. Take care of yourself. As one of your employers, I ask that you work on losing weight. That is an order.

    July 7, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  15. stickittotheman

    Our culture has been lulled to sleep by big media. We don't want to know what they are up to and, laughably, we don't even care. Check out the comment above by BB.

    July 7, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  16. Danielle B.

    Bravo! News of the World will shut down after Sunday's edition!

    July 7, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  17. twolfhound

    To WesterMedia...Corrupt...
    Really? I agree that the Western media is increadibly corrupted and messed up, but to be jailed for stating anything against a government, particularly if it's true? That's just insane. How could anyone support the idea of that? That gives the government total control to act in any way it sees fit, just or not. I think our government is doing plenty well in its corruption, it doesn't need to control the media that speaks against it, as well.

    July 7, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  18. Goose42

    Keep up the great work Hugh Grant.

    July 7, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  19. ART

    Now if we could only get the advertisers here in the US to boycott that horrible Faux news network that makes up and incorrectly reports the news

    July 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  20. Mike


    News of the World is being shut down, end of story.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
  21. Andurill

    I just became a big fan of Hugh Grant.

    July 7, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
  22. Bee

    I love it when celebrities use their fame, which in this case he did to get the interview, to listen (and tape) some moron brag about how he gets information for ANY story. The perverbial shoe is on the other foot.
    GO HUGH GO!!!!

    July 7, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  23. george

    Full credit to Hugh Grant for taking on the corrupt media barons. Noone else had the courage.

    July 7, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
  24. J.B.B.

    To BB:

    NO! More like: "Who cares for YOUR asinine comments"?!

    July 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  25. SoulsCode

    Stay safe Hugh Grant. I hope you are successful.

    July 7, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  26. Thomas


    July 8, 2011 at 2:22 am |
  27. EHJAY

    RICHARD QUEST's description of the Murdoch empire could not be more incomplete.
    The crown jewel of Murdoch's empire is Star Network that is presented in over 300 million locations in about 59 countries, as I recall. Richard barely scatched the surface of what the empire encompasses. Star Network is News, Movies, Sports,and other categories. Then there is the vast Publishing side to the empire. There are other aspects to the empire as well in Investing etc. Then there are his corporate Aviation interests. I worked for one that had 100 large. aircraft leased out around the world. The income of the Murdoch empire is measure in $hundreds of billions, perhaps a trillion USD. He is seriously underestimated, even by Forbes. He is a dangerous and unscrupulous individual. He admits to being a radical right winger. A book should be written exposing his complete empire and his political influence in America and Britain. He shapes voter opinion with his empire and Presidents and Prime Ministers consult with him for that reason.

    July 8, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  28. Jules

    You keep on Doing this hugh this has to end.

    July 8, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  29. Sherryl

    Q: Is hooch stealing then or making them. Clarfy please. I expect him to cone clean today on the podcast if he is stealing them off the Internet I was giving him all the credit when I was playing them this weekend to get peoples reaction. Most people thought they were cool but weird waste of time
    ANSWERED 10/18/10 14:03:22 BY DAN LE BATARD
    A: he's stealing them....that's what the internet is for

    Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/qna/forum/live_qa_with_dan_le_batard/index.html#ixzz12nOdlqmU

    On September 14, 2008, I discovered that my home computer was hacked into by a Miami, FL radio station. It was 790 the ticket, WAXY. On the following day, I discovered that they stole everything from my computer including pictures, documents and were voyuering me and father at the time and was in my cell phones - I was using a prepaid phone then later bought a Blackberry which they were also in. Also with my stolen documents, they with a help of one of their listeners, Hasenpfeffer aka John Pearson, an IT specialist with the largest Ford dealership in Miami, they made a web site that contained all my documents, pictures and also included with all the web sites I visited and their web site also allowed for anyone to see what I was typing and when and how many times I visited a certain web site. Dan LeBatard also gave out all my passwords to all of my on line accounts such as my banking and other private information to all his listeners. Also, with Dan LeBatard's media connections, ESPN, E! Network, MSNBC, Ryan Sea crest, The Miami Herald and many others also had knowledge of my hygiene habits along with all my daily activities. They circulated all my documents and picture throughout Florida and violated my privacy. They were in my life 24/7 and saw me in various stages of dress. Also, I might add, I have never published my picture or sent a picture out to anyone via web, but somehow, everyone knew or knows how what I look like. Still today, Seacrest and other shows, including Dan LeBatard base their shows around the information they stole from computer and the information on me that they saw through voyuring me. When I did file a complaint with FBI, they refuse to help me because LeBatard fooled them so much thinking that nothing was going on. Also, I found out that LeBatard had this through the fact they connected my computer to their system and connected my email to theirs by using a WAN mini port PPPoP. I also found on my computer the makings of a web site and a two lists which contained the most visited web sites I went to and another containing a list stating that I was a child molester , quick to anger, and prone to nudity just to name a few. Essentially, they saw everything and everyone who I email and what I emailed. They heard every conversation I had regardless if I was on the phone or not. They had invaded my privacy and I would really like some of your legal help in this matter. I would like all parties involved arrested and convicted. Also, at some of 790's sponsored events, they gave out some of my private documents to the listeners who attended their events in Florida Dania Jai Ali, and LeBatard read my resume on his show. They gave out to their listeners my banking information along with my passwords of all my internet accounts. They also gave out my phone numbers and all my private information including where I lived. Most all broadcast network stations have my information and I would like for someone to help me. I feel since they fooled the FBI that I have no one to turn to and could really use your help. Also, when I reported my findings to the FBI, they also pulled my government document that I filed on my computer and used it during his show, and when hurricane Gustavo hit my region of the county, and filed a report with FEMA, they also pulled my document for that government site and used that on air. Revealing all my information that was only between me and the federal government, also, while on my cell phone with a discussion with Agent Gregg of the FBI, they listened to our private conversation. For more information regarding these findings, you can contact me the information provided below.

    July 14, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  30. Mark Garvey

    Thanks for demonstrating to all of us that each of us have a voice in the battle against tyranny, and Rupert Murdoch is, if nothing else, the supreme contemporary tyrant. He parades an endless stream of vapid nitwits across our TV Screens and newspapers, spouting yellow journalistic nonsense and
    outright lies and vomiting it across the planet.

    Get the bastard!

    July 16, 2011 at 1:00 am |
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Quest Means Business airs Monday to Friday, 1600 New York and 2100 London, and is hosted by Richard Quest.



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