Sienna Miller, J.K. Rowling testify about paparazzi at UK press probe
Sienna Miller and J.K. Rowling, author of the "Harry Potter" books, recently described their experiences being pursued by the paparazzi during their testimonies at a UK government-backed investigation into the practices and ethics of tabloids and other media.
During the past few years, the 29-year-old British actress, known for films such as "Alfie" and "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," and Rowling, the world's richest author with an estimated net worth of at least $1 billion, have both often been featured in UK tabloids and are often seen in photographs produced by celebrity photojournalists.
"I was relentlessly pursued by about 10 to 15 men almost daily, pretty much daily, and, you know, anything from being spat at or verbally abused," Miller testified at the Royal Courts of Justice in London recently, as seen in this video posted by the BBC. "I think that the incentive is really to get a strong a reaction as possible."
Prime Minister David Cameron had ordered the media probe earlier this summer amid a highly-publicized phone hacking scandal that involved tabloids such as Rupert Murdoch's News of The World. It shut down operations in July. A month earlier, Miller settled a lawsuit with the publication, saying she was one of several celebrities whose cell phone data was stolen. She was reportedly paid $164,500 in damages.
Miller's love life has often made headlines. She has had high-profile relationships with the likes of "Alfie" co-star Jude Law, who has admitted to cheating on her with the nanny of his three children, and has also been linked to actors Rhys Ifans and Balthazar Getty.
Rowling testified that she was forced to move out of a house because of harassment by journalists and that she once tried to "outrun a 20-something paparazzo while pushing a buggy," adding that her daughter tried to calm her down.
"It mattered hugely to me that the moment I set foot outside the door, my children were being photographed again," she said, according to CNN. "So the cumulative effect, it becomes quite draining."
While tabloids dominate the UK newspaper industry, paparazzi practices have been questioned more since the 1997 death of Princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash in Paris after being chased by celebrity photographers.
British actor Hugh Grant also testified at the media inquiry. He had helped spearhead a legal battle against News of the World and other tabloids. The actor, known for films such as the 1994 movie "Four Weddings and a Funeral," has also been a tabloid favorite in the United Kingdom, especially following his 1995 arrest for soliciting a prostitute.
Recently, he has been in the media spotlight due to the birth of his first child, a daughter. Her mother is Ting Lan Hong, a woman he used to date. She recently told a UK high court that celebrity photographers had been harassing her since her pregnancy, prompting Grant to file an injunction on her behalf.
"The house where my the mother of my child and my child were besieged was surrounded by these paparazzi," Grant testified, as seen in a video posted by the UK newspaper The Guardian. "The 61-year-old ... grandmother of my child went out into the street, took a picture of a man sitting in a car with a great, big camera."
"He turned around, took a lot of pictures of her, wound the window down, shouted a lot of abuse at her," the actor added. "Then, as she crossed the road, he menaced her with his car - drove at her very fast, made her jump out of the day, and then at the end of the road, he did a U-turn, came back and menaced her again with the car. The police have been called."