Hugh Grant has settled his phone-hacking lawsuit against Mirror Group Newspapers in London. The actor, who will be paid a reported six figures for the settlement, will donate the money to the anti-hacking advocacy group Hacked Off.
The "Paddington" star came down hard on the Mirror in a statement on Hacked Off, saying that he was determined to find out the depth of the media group's cover-ups. Grant said, "A number of its senior employees, including executives, editors and journalists, condoned, encouraged or actively turned a blind eye to the widespread culture of unlawful information-gathering activities at all three of its newspapers for many years and actively sought to conceal its wrongdoing from its many victims of intrusion."
Grant name-checked former Mirror Group editors Piers Morgan, Richard Wallace, Tina Weaver, Neil Wallis, Mark Thomas and James Scott, saying that "phone-hacking and other unlawful information-gathering took place on an industrial scale." He added that Weaver, Wallace, Thomas and Scott "were all phone-hackers themselves" and said Morgan and Wallis were "so incompetent as to not to know the real source of scores of exclusives that they published, or they were complicit in the criminal conduct."
In court, Grant's lawyer, Anjlee Saigol, alleged that Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) misused Grant's information retrieved by hacking his voicemails, masquerading as other people and surveillance between 1998 and 2009, reports the BBC.
MGN admitted to unlawfully obtaining Grant's information. Company spokesperson Alex Wilson said, "MGN accepts that the unlawful interception of voicemail messages and procurement of private information about Mr. Grant and others should never have happened. MGN acknowledges that was morally wrong and deeply regrets the wrongful acts of its former employees which caused damage and distress to those affected, including Mr. Grant."
Morgan, Wallace and Weaver previously denied knowing anything about phone hacking at the Mirror, but a court ruled in 2015 that their statements were "wrong, not just disingenuous," per the BBC.
Morgan did not seem very remorseful, posting a 1990s mug shot of Grant in response to news of the settlement.