Phone Hacking Scandal: Hugh Grant Settles News of the World Claim
LONDON – Hugh Grant has settled his claim against Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. publishing division News International, winning substantial damages.
The actor's solicitor told The Guardian he plans to donate the undisclosed amount of cash won to Hacked Off, the organization fighting for stricter press regulation.
Grant, the public face of the campaign and a director, secured the damages payout after the News Of The World phone hacking scandal fallout.
Murdoch's News Group Newspapers, the News International subsidiary, published the Sunday tabloid until its closure last year.
Grant's solicitor Mark Thompson told The Guardian his famous client will donate the money to the Hacked Off campaign for press reform, of which he is a prominent backer, along with an additional personal donation.
"Hugh Grant has today settled his claims for damages and other legal remedies arising out of the unlawful activities of News of the World journalists and others over a number of years," said Thomson in the newspaper Friday. "News Group Newspapers have agreed to pay him a substantial sum by way of damages. He has instructed us to donate all of his damages plus an additional payment from him to the Hacked Off campaign for a free and accountable media. This will be done as soon as payment is received."
Thomson said a statement would be made in open court "shortly in the new year."
Grant was one of 178 people suing the publisher in a second wave of civil litigations lodged in the high court this autumn.
He is among more than 20 people who have settled their claims out of court since October.
Grant first mooted the possibility of legal action over phone hacking in May last year after he said he was shown evidence by police that his phone had been hacked.
The actor appeared before the Leveson inquiry into media ethics last year and told the judge that hundreds of celebrities and actors would forgo damages and apologies if newspapers would "just make an undertaking never to mention their names again."
Grant also fronted a Channel 4 documentary about the tabloids on the eve of the publication of the Leveson report in November and has subsequently pledged to campaign for a new press law until the general election in 2015.
He said the Hacked Off campaign was "going nowhere, and will go nowhere and will be there for the forseeable future to ensure there is no cosy stitch-up for the eighth time running."
"They are not going to turn the face against the united views of the public who are very clearly on our side and on the side of the victims," he added.
Murdoch closed down The News of the World in July last year as the phone hacking scandal engulfed it.