Elton John and his husband David Furnish, along with Prince Harry and actors Elizabeth Hurley and Sadie Frost are among those named in a lawsuit suing the owners of the British group Associated Newspapers, which publishes the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, and Mail Online, over “gross breaches of privacy.”
The lawsuit, which was also filed by social justice campaigner Doreen Lawrence, the mother of Stephen Lawrence, a black teenager who was murdered in a racist attack in 1993, alleges the British publisher allowed “abhorrent criminal activity and gross breaches of privacy,” according to a statement issued on Oct. 6 by Hamlins, the law firm representing Prince Harry and actress Sadie Frost.
John, Furnish, Hurley, and Lawrence are represented by the Gunnercooke legal firm.
“The alleged crimes represent the tip of the iceberg,” read the Hamlins statement. “[The six] have banded together to uncover the truth and hold the journalists responsible fully accountable, many of whom still hold senior positions of authority and power today.”
Associated Newspapers is accused of having “corrupt links to private investigators” to obtain private and inside information and impersonating individuals to obtain access to medical records and bank accounts “through illicit means and manipulation.”
The lawsuit also accuses the publisher of bugging and recording private phone conversations, hiring private investigators to place listening devices in cars and homes, and even paying off police for sensitive information.
“These individuals have become aware of compelling and highly distressing evidence that they have been the victims of Associated Newspapers,” continued the statement by Hamlins. “They have therefore banded together to uncover the truth, and to hold the journalists responsible fully accountable, many of whom still hold senior positions of authority and power.”
In February 2021, Britain’s High Court ruled that The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline website breached Meghan Markle’s privacy by publishing five articles featuring a large portion of a handwritten letter she sent her father, Thomas Markle, following her 2018 marriage to Prince Harry.
In a statement, Associated Newspapers dismissed the allegations, including phone tapping and other acts alleged in the lawsuit.
“We utterly and unambiguously refute these preposterous smears which appear to be nothing more than a pre-planned and orchestrated attempt to drag the ‘Mail’ titles into the phone hacking scandal concerning articles up to 30 years old,” read a statement by the Associated Newspapers. “These unsubstantiated and highly defamatory claims—based on no credible evidence—appear to be simply a fishing expedition by claimants and their lawyers, some of whom have already pursued cases elsewhere.”
(Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for EJAF)