Bloomberg News

News Corp.’s Sun Accused of Hacking Pop Star’s Phone for Story

November 29, 2011

Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) -- News Corp.’s U.K. tabloid The Sun may have hacked the voice mail messages of pop star Charlotte Church to report her pregnancy before she told her friends or family, a judge-led inquiry into the press was told.

Church, 25, believes a message from her doctor may have been intercepted because no one else knew about the pregnancy other than her partner, the singer said at a U.K. media inquiry today. Police gave Church proof her phone had been targeted by a former private investigator for another News Corp. tabloid, the News of the World, starting when she was 17 years old.

“My family were really upset that I hadn’t told them first and that it came out in this way,” Church said. “It was my news to tell and that opportunity was taken away from me.” Church said she doesn’t have any evidence for the claim.

News Corp. closed the News of the World in July to help contain the five-year-old scandal after it was revealed the tabloid had hacked the phone of a murdered school girl in 2002, when she was still missing. During the two-week-old inquiry, led by Judge Brian Leveson, lawyers and witnesses have said phone hacking may have occurred at other publications, including the Sun, Trinity Mirror Plc’s Daily Mirror and Daily Mail & General Trust Plc’s Mail on Sunday.

Church, who criticized stories in the Daily Mail and Daily People, said either The Times or the Sunday Times, both owned by New York-based News Corp., misrepresented her comments in an interview to report she made disparaging remarks about fire fighters who responded to the 9-11 terrorist attack. A tabloid also wrongfully reported that she had proposed to her boyfriend during a drunken night out, she said.

Murdoch’s Wedding

Church said that when she was 13, she was asked to perform at News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch’s wedding in New York. She said she waived her 100,000-pound ($153,000) fee for the event because she was told she would “be looked upon favorably by Mr. Murdoch’s papers.”

Daisy Dunlop, a spokeswoman for News Corp. in London, didn’t immediately respond to e-mail and voice mail messages.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron called for the inquiry to scrutinize the relationship between the press and the public and determine if new regulations are needed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Larson in London at elarson4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net


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