Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Denounce UK Tabloids’ ‘Predatory Practices’ After Private Investigator Admits To Illegally Selling Info!
Can Prince Harry and Meghan Markle take down the British tabloids for good?
Society is having a reckoning with tabloid culture coming off of the upsetting and eye-opening documentary Framing Britney Spears, but the gossip rags across the pond are a whole different beast. Harry and Meghan aren’t the only ones who have exposed — or been victims of — this culture (an exposé concerning the tabs hacking the phone of a murdered 13-year-old girl sent shockwaves through British media back in 2011). But because of their special relationship to the subject matter, they’ve made it their mission to fight back.
According to the New York Times, they’ve received help from an unlikely source — Daniel Portley-Hanks, the private investigator who sold out the actress in the first place. The NYT reported that back when the Sussexes first started dating, Portley-Hanks used the database TLOxp to access restricted information about Meg and her family members. He then sold the info, which included cellphone numbers, social security numbers, addresses, and more, to The Sun’s US editor, James Beal, for $2,055. Portley-Hanks’ info led the press to finding her dad Thomas Markle, which essentially destroyed the relationship between father and daughter.
Though the sale of information from TLOxp to media outlets was illegal, Portley-Hanks claimed Beal knew about it and that The Sun had even encouraged him to break the law. News Group Newspapers, the company that owns The Sun, denied the allegation and stated the PI “was instructed clearly in writing to act lawfully and he signed a legal undertaking that he would do so.” However, the retired investigator provided an affidavit to the contrary for Archie’s dad’s legal team as they pursue another lawsuit (regarding phone hacking) against The Sun and the Daily Mirror.
The Archewell founders’ team released a statement regarding Portley-Hanks’ confession. It read:
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex feel that today is an important moment of reflection for the media industry and society at large, as this investigative report shows that the predatory practices of days past are still ongoing, reaping irreversible damage for families and relationships. … They are grateful to those working in media who stand for upholding the values of journalism, which are needed now more than ever before.”
For his part, Portley-Hanks has expressed regret for his actions and released an apology through the outlet Byline Investigates. He said:
“I’m sorry to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry for targeting her family, particularly her dad, on behalf of The Sun. I never wanted to cause Meghan Markle harm, and wouldn’t have done the job if I’d have known it would lead to all these problems. … I also wanted to take this opportunity to apologise to The Queen, because I realise the harm of what I did for The Sun has affected the whole family.”
Portley-Hanks recently spent time in prison after defacing a gravesite “to intimidate a person who owed money to the gambling ring” that hired him (per the NYT), so we’re not sure he really would have turned down the job just because it caused Meghan harm. (Did he think selling her private info to a tabloid would help her?)
Regardless, anything that helps strengthen the Sussexes’ case is probably a good thing. We hope they’re successful in reforming the industry.
[Image via WENN]