In December 2021, Sienna Miller settled with News Group Newspapers in her long-running pursuit of justice. News Group – owned by Rupert Murdoch and part of the Murdoch media empire – had spied on Sienna, hacked her phone, stolen her medical information, published her private information and done dozens of other crazy sh-t. Sienna agreed to the settlement because she was ready to move on and because she knew it would cost her more money and time to go to trial. At the time, Sienna basically said that she hoped other people with deeper pockets would continue this fight and fundamentally change the way the British tabloid media operates. Enter Prince Harry and his litigious streak. Harry has the time, money and inclination to take down some very powerful people in the British media. While I have no doubt that Harry wants to sue the bejesus out of Rupert Murdoch and his media empire, right now Harry is focused on Viscount Rothermere, owner of Associated Newspaper (i.e. the Mail). This is unlike Harry’s very specific lawsuit against the Mail for their reporting around his security/royal protection issue. This is about the Mail’s years-long (decades-long) abuse and criminal behavior.
Prince Harry is taking legal action. The Duke of Sussex, 38, is launching a lawsuit against Associated Newspapers, the publishing house home to The Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, according to a press release issued by Hamlins LLP on Thursday. Joining Prince Harry in the “legal offensive” are Elton John and his husband David Furnish, Elizabeth Hurley, actress Sadie Frost, and Baroness Doreen Lawrence, the mother of the late Stephen Lawrence.
The six individuals claim in the statement that they “have become aware of compelling and highly distressing evidence that they have been the victims of abhorrent criminal activity and gross breaches of privacy by Associated Newspapers.” Prince Harry and Frost are being represented by Hamlins LLP, while other participants are represented by gunnercooke.
According to the statement, the group has filed a lawsuit alleging that these unlawful practices include the placement of listening devices in their cars and homes by private investigators, the surreptitious recording of private telephone calls, the payment of police “with corrupt links to private investigators” for sensitive information, impersonation to obtain medical information from hospitals and care facilities and illicit manipulation into accessing bank accounts, credit histories and other financial transactions.
“It is apparent to these individuals that the alleged crimes listed above represent the tip of the iceberg — and that many other innocent people remain unknowing victims of similar terrible and reprehensible covert acts,” the release says. “They have now therefore banded together to uncover the truth, and to hold the journalists responsible fully accountable, many of whom still hold senior positions of authority and power today.”
“These individuals have been the subject of public interest during the course of their careers and personal lives. They are united in their desire to live in a world where the press operates freely, yet responsibly. A press that represents truth, is sourced in fact and can be trusted to operate ethically and in the interests of the British public,” it concludes.
Variety reports that three lawsuits were filed Thursday in London’s High Court against Associated Newspapers by Gunnercooke, citing “misuse of private information.” According to the outlet, the lawsuits filed by Prince Harry and Frost, the ex-wife of Jude Law, have not yet surfaced in legal records.
Remember when a private investigator went on the record about how he was hired by a British tabloid to dig into then-Meghan Markle’s past, her finances, her romantic life and more? That dude got her Social Security number and he provided all of it to the Sun. I have no doubt that the Mail gets up to the same sh-t that Murdoch’s papers get into though, and clearly, Harry sees a through-line. Even before he met Meghan, there were people tapping his phone and getting their hands on Chelsy Davy’s medical records and more. He has receipts.
Incidentally, not only did King Charles and Queen Camilla hire a communications chief straight from the Mail’s editorial staff, they also invited Viscount Rothermere and Rebekah Brooks (Murdoch’s right hand for his UK operations) to Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.
— Hugh Grant (@HackedOffHugh) September 22, 2022
Here’s the response from Associated Newspapers (the Mail):
Response from Associated Newspapers: pic.twitter.com/3czYKt6rvE
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) October 6, 2022
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.