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On Thursday, News Corporation deputy CEO James Murdoch announced that the company would should down The News of the World after this Sunday’s edition. The news comes after months of scandal revealing that staff at the paper approved hacking into as many as 4,000 mobile phone accounts. And while the situations has become one of the largest scandals in the 168-year-old paper’s history, it is definitely not the first time NOTW has made waves with its questionable reporting tactics.
Here are the most sordid scandals of the paper’s long history.
1. Prince Charles The heir to the throne has been the subject of a few lurid stories. In 2003, NOTW caused a worldwide firestorm by printing a story questioning the Prince’s sexuality after allegations were made by a former palace servant that he was bisexual. Charles released a statement, but didn’t take legal action. Also, in 1992, while he was still married to Princess Diana, Charles was recorded telling his then-mistress Camilla Parker Bowles that he longed to be her tampon.
2. Sarah Payne After the abduction and murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne in 2000, the paper spearheaded a campaign to create Sarah’s Law, to protect children from child sex offenders. It also printed the names of alleged pedophiles which incited outrage from its readers, and many of those that were named were terrorized and threatened. In many cases those targets ended up being cases of mistaken identity.
3. Kate Moss The model has had a long history of troubles with the paper. She sued after it printed a story alleging she’d participated in a an orgy as part of her 34th birthday party in 2008. NOTW also issued an apology in 2009 after falsely claiming she was three-months pregnant with her second child. This year, a story ran saying Moss drunkenly bought nine sex toys and collapsed on the floor of a New York adult store.
4. Max Mosley In 2008 the paper posted a secretly filmed video of Max Mosley on their website, and alleged that it involved Nazi role-playing with five prostitutes. Mosley took legal action with a libel case, and Britain’s High Court ruled in July 2008 that NOTW had breached Mosley’s privacy and awarded him £60,000 (approx. US$92,000) in damages.
5. David and Victoria Beckham NOTW published a story in 2004 claiming soccer star David Beckham and Spanish model and media personality Rebecca Loos were having an affair while she was employed as his personal assistant. The next year, Beckham and his wife Victoria sued the paper seeking libel damages over an article that carried the headline: “Posh and Becks on the Rocks.” In 2006 the case was settled out of court.
6. Fake Sheikh NOTW reporter Mazher Mahmood routinely posed as a sheikh to get close to subjects he was trying to expose. Dubbed the “Britain’s most notorious undercover reporter, the “Fake Sheikh” and also using the alias Sam Fernando, Mahmood exposed over 250 people, including politician David Mellor’s affair with actress Antonia de Sancha.
7. Michael Phelps Months after winning a record eight gold medals at the summer Olympics in Beijing, NOTW published photos of Michael Phelps (who holds a total of 14 gold medals) cradling a glass bong in January 2009. The swimmer’s representatives allegedly tried to buy off the paper in an attempt to kill the story, even offering to have Phelps write a column for three years. Phelps later issued a statement calling his behavior “regrettable.”
8. Lindsay Lohan NOTW published photos of Lindsay Lohan alleging that the actress was injecting herself with a syringe of heroin. The pictures ran September 26, 2010, a day after Lohan was released from jail for the third time after failing a court-ordered test for cocaine.
9. Prince Harry In 2009, the paper’s website published a video of Prince Harry taken during a training exercise in Cyprus in 2006, in which the Prince uses racial language and mocks Queen Elizabeth. The video set a traffic record for NOTW‘s site and forced the Prince to issue an apology.
10. Phone Hacking In April 2011, attorneys for the phone-hacking victims alleged that as many as 7,000 people had their phones tapped into by the NOTW employees who had hired private investigators, starting in 2006, to access the mobile accounts of celebrities, athletes, politicians and other people of interest. Then, in 2007 the paper’s royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, was jailed for four months after pleading guilty to illegal interception of personal communication. Today, the paper’s parent company News Corp. announced it would close the 168-year-old publication (its last printing will be July 10). News Corp. deputy CEO James Murdoch also admitted to paying out-of-court settlements amidst reports that some of the phones that had been hacked belonged to the family members of deceased war. The same day, former NOTW editor Andy Coulson was informed of his impending Friday arrest.
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