Hugh Grant secretly tapes paparazzi photographer
April 8, 2011
Hugh Grant secretly taped a paparazzi photographer, largely in revenge for publication of a photograph of the actor, taken after his car had broken down.
Grant claims that former News of the World photographer and journalist Paul McMullan had agreed not to publish a photo of him after he had given the actor a lift in a remote part of Kent last year.
The actor said McMullan was carrying a ?long lens camera? when he apparently offered to help.
?He came closer to get better shots and I swore at him. Then he offered me a lift the last few miles to my destination,? Grant writes in this week?s New Statesman magazine.
The actor admitted that he is ?not entirely sympathetic towards paparazzi?.
But Grant said he had no choice but to accept a lift from McMullan who drove the actor to his required destination, a golf club.
During the journey, Grant quizzed McMullan on the practice of phone-hacking because the journalist is known for his whistle-blowing on the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World.
?This was interesting, as I had been a victim ? a fact he confirmed as we drove along,? added Grant.
?He also had an unusual defence of the practice: that phone-hacking was a price you had to pay for living in a free society.
?I asked how that worked exactly, but we ran out of time and the next thing we had arrived and he was asking me if I would pose for a photo with him, ?not for publication?, just for the wall of the pub?.
?I agreed and the picture duly appeared in the Mail on Sunday that weekend with his creative version of the encounter.?
Keen to interrogate McMullan further, about phone-hacking and tabloid journalism, Grant decided to secretly record him during a later meeting – using a hidden tape recorder – during which the journalist revealed more details on phone-hacking and those allegedly involved.
During the conversation, which took place at a Dover pub run by McMullan, the photographer also admitted that he got paid £3,000 for the Hugh Grant photograph.
No-one at the Castle Inn in Dover was available for comment at the time of writing.
A transcript of the conversation appears in the 11 April issue of the New Statesman.
Hugh Grant was furious that this photo of him with Paul McMullan was published. The Guardian’s website (pictured) was among the media outlets to pick up on the story after the actor’s car broke down just before Christmas.