Rupert Murdoch Tweets His Support for Prince Harry
LONDON -- Rupert Murdoch took to Twitter to express his sympathy for Prince Harry in the wake of the naked pictures controversy, urging all to give the royal "a break."
The media mogul tweeted: "Prince Harry. Give him a break. He may be on the public payroll one way or another, but the public loves him, even to enjoy Las Vegas."
It comes after Friday's edition of The Sun tabloid newspaper, owned by Murdoch's News International U.K. publishing division, printed the grainy cell phone snaps of the 27-year-old prince larking about with an unnamed woman in his hotel suite in Vegas.
More than 850 complaints have been made to the press watchdog the Press Complaints Commission about The Sun's decision to break ranks with the British media and be the only one to publish the pictures. Nearly all the complaints are about invasion of privacy and are scheduled to be investigated in due course.
The Independent reported that Murdoch himself was involved personally in the decision to print the pictures, which The Sun's managing editor David Dinsmore told the media was a matter of principle concerning press freedom.
Others saw the decision as an act of mischevious defiance by Murdoch as the findings of the Leveson inquiry into press standards here in the wake of the phone hacking scandal engulfing News International are prepared.
Shine Group chairman Liz Murdoch said during the Edinburgh International Television Festival that she agreed with the decision by The Sun to publish the pictures
Arguing that a "public interest argument" can be made for the publication, she told delegates and the press at the Scottish shindig that it would be bad if newspapers couldn't participate in something that has drawn the public's interest.
TMZ, the celebrity gossip web site, which first published the pictures, said they were taken after Harry and his entourage met some women in a hotel bar and invited them up to the royal's suite.
The group is alleged to have played strip billiards while someone in the party is thought to have captured the images of the naked prince on a camera phone.