The Daily Mail today hit back at claims made by actor Hugh Grant that it secured information about the birth of his child from a hospital source and that sister title the Mail on Sunday hacked his phone.
Grant yesterday gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry in which he suggested that a story published by the Daily Mail in 2007 about his late-night phone-calls with a ‘plummy-voiced woman”, in the midst of his break-up with Jemima Khan, could only have come from listening to his voicemail messages.
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Grant also suggested that the Daily Mail had discovered the news earlier this year that ex-girlfriend Tinglan Hong was to have a baby from a hospital source. And he also claimed that the Mail had paid £125,000 to Hong’s former boyfriend for pictures.
On the phone-hacking allegation, the Mail on Sunday said that it ‘utterly refutes’the claim. It said in a statement: “The information came from a freelance journalist who had been told by a source who was regularly speaking to Jemima Khan”.
On the allegation that the Daily Mail obtained information from a hospital source about the birth of his child, the Mail said: ‘In fact the information came from a source in his showbusiness circle more than two weeks after the birth. We then spent a further two weeks seeking a response to the story from his publicists.
‘None was forthcoming and indeed we did not publish anything until Grant’s publicist issued a statement describing the baby as the product of a ‘fleeting affair’. Throughout, the Mail behaved with total journalistic propriety.”
On the final point, that the Mail paid £125,00 to Hong’s former boyfriend for photos, the paper reported today that in fact this related to the Mail on Sunday which it said paid “a fraction of the amount mentioned by Mr Grant to an agency for the interview and the photographs”.
In a leader comment today the Mail said: ‘Yesterday’s appearance before the Leveson Inquiry by millionaire actor Hugh Grant – who throughout his career has been represented by publicity experts promoting his life and times – revealed him to be a man consumed by hatred for a media which over the years, as well as carrying flattering articles on him, has also reported on his colourful and, many may say, unedifying love life.”