British actor Hugh Grant is taking a little credit for the demise of the “News of the World.”
In an interview with the BBC, the “Bridget Jones’s Diary” star recalls secretly recording one of the tabloid’s journalists during a conversation at an English pub. Grant says he was prompted to go undercover after an earlier discussion about phone hacking with the paparazzo. During that exchange, Grant says Paul McMullen bragged about hacking into the actor’s phone and the phones of other celebrities and newsmakers for his publication over the years. The actor says he was “revolted and astonished” by what McMullen told him. Grant says he pretended to drop in for a pint a few months later at a pub McMullen runs in Dover and got him talking again about the hacking. He published the story in the “New Statesman” back in April.
McMullen told the BBC he suspected the actor was taping him during his pub visit, but joked that he didn’t want to believe that, quote, “an actor who’s very well-known would lower himself to such tactics.” He called the thought of Hugh Grant coming into his pub and recording him with “a silly little pen,” “hilarious,” adding that he didn’t mind being turned over. The phone hacking scandal prompted media baron Rupert Murdoch to shutter the doors on “News of the World” last week. The final edition of the 168-year-old publication hit news stands on Sunday.