How far will British tabloid media go? According to a new lawsuit filed by Elton John, Prince Harry, actor Elizabeth Hurley, and three others against the Publisher of The Daily Mail, they will go to, “Illicit means and manipulation,” and engage in “gross breaches of privacy.” It seems that not even The Rocket Man or The Royal Family can escape the wrath of bloodthirsty tabloid journalists who they allege hired private investigators to tap phone calls and place listening devices in cars and homes to dig up anything they can on major celebrities, the lawsuit alleges.
In a press release obtained by Deadline, the plaintiff group led by Elton John and Prince Harry say that they are, “The victims of abhorrent criminal activity.” It alleges that Associated Newspapers (the publisher of The Daily Mail and affiliate media properties) hired private eyes who impersonated people in order to obtain medical records and illegally access bank accounts.
“The alleged crimes represent the tip of the iceberg,” the press release states. “[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.”
Meanwhile, Associated Newspapers have issued a statement regarding the lawsuit, saying that it’s merely a ploy to bring up old claims of phone hacking that are unrelated to this particular suite. A spokesman said that they, “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. 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.”
This boilerplate statement reads as if Elton John, Prince Harry, and company are trying to shake down The Daily Mail. Whether that’s more credible than British tabloids overstepping legal bounds in fishing for scoops may be for a court to decide.