Hugh Grant has joked that the only reason he’s “bitter” about the British press is due to his scandal with a sex worker.
The actor was arrested in 1995 by LA police for participating in “lewd conduct” in a public place with a sex worker called Divine Brown. At the time of his arrest he was in a long-term relationship with Liz Hurley.
While appearing as a guest on the US talk show The View on Thursday (March 16), Grant was asked about his campaigns against the British tabloid press.
“Everyone thinks, ‘Oh, well he’s just bitter because he got arrested with a hooker in 1995,’” Grant said.
Co-host Whoopi Goldberg interjected: “But you know what, really, who hasn’t?”
Hugh Grant on being a longtime critic of the British tabloid press: "These big newspaper owners, largely non-taxpaying
newspaper owners, are living above the law."
"No one dares to take them on in Britain because they're so scared of them, especially politicians." pic.twitter.com/r22GFNZcKc
— The View (@TheView) March 16, 2023
The actor then continued: “But actually it had nothing to do with that because that was never uncovered by tabloids. It was that the bloody police gave everyone the information. It was nothing to do with that.”
He went on to say that his campaign Hacked Off, which was established 2011 in response to the phone-hacking revelations in the British press, was founded to fight corruption.
“These big newspaper owners – largely non-tax-paying newspaper owners – are living above the law and invading the privacy of people whose kids are being killed in a road accident or whatever to get the sensational article,” Grant told The View.
“No one dares to take them on in Britain because they’re so scared of them, especially the politicians. That’s why politicians, really in my country, are chosen by the press… That’s what my campaign is about.”
Grant has reflected previously on the infamous 1995 incident, calling it a moment of “insanity”. In a statement at the time, he wrote: “I have hurt people I love and embarrassed people I work with. For both things I am more sorry than I can ever possibly say.”
The now-defunct News Of The World reportedly paid Brown $100,000 (£81,562) for her story, which included her claim that Grant told her: “I always wanted to sleep with a Black woman. That’s my fantasy.”
Grant was ordered to pay a fine of $1,000 (£821) and go on an Aids education programme.
Meanwhile, Grant has called the ending to Notting Hill “nauseating” while explaining a small Easter egg in the scene.
The actor, who plays bookstore owner William Thacker in the 1999 rom-com opposite Julia Roberts, discussed a detail in the film’s ending during a Wired video interview.
In the scene, Anna Scott (Roberts) is seen lying on William on a park bench as he reads a specific novel, which carried additional meaning for the late director Robert Michell.
“In that nauseating moment on the bench at the end, I’m reading Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières, which was going to be his next film,” Grant said. “So it’s a little in-joke from Roger Michell, God rest his soul.”
Earlier this month the actor’s “uncomfortable” interview with Ashley Graham from the Oscars 2023 carpet went viral.