Johnny Depp has accused British tabloids of hacking his phone and taking other extreme measures to get coverage of his personal life. The actor has filed a new case against the News Group Newspapers company, which operates outlets like The Sun. According to a report by The Blast, Depp claims that these news outlets have been invading his privacy for over a decade.
Depp has filed a lawsuit against News Group Newspapers with a letter of claim, accusing the tabloids of "multiple breaches" of his privacy and "misuse of private information, including the illegal interception of his voice mail messages and other unlawful data gathering." Depp claims that his team of lawyers and investigators have found strong evidence that reporters hacked his phone repeatedly between 1996 and 2010. Their "extensive investigation... clearly points towards repeated and prolonged illegal intrusion."
Depp's accusations specifically involve coverage of him in The Sun and the now-defunct outlet News of the World. Both are operated by News Group Newspapers, which is itself a subsidiary of the U.S.-based News Corp. News Corp is a massive conglomerate originally founded by Rupert Murdoch, encompassing many brands in both the U.S. and the U.K.
During the time period described in Depp's letter, The Sun broke the news of both of his girlfriend's pregnancies publicly before they made any announcements. These scoops were attributed to his "pals," but Depp said that this was a cover-up for illegal information-gathering.
According to Depp, the outlets also made "wrongful disclosures" of his personal medical information and that of his children as well. "These details were obviously intrusive and sensitive and included the stages of the pregnancies, our client’s movements and plans (showing clear surveillance of him)," his letter says.
Depp's team was specifically suspicious of news coverage of his daughter's hospitalization in 2007 for kidney failure. They listed the surprising information that reporters managed to gather, writing that they "were aware that our client's daughter was in a 'serious condition,' the name of the hospital where she was being treated, and the nature of her illness. They also knew of measures taken by our client to protect his and his family’s privacy, including entering the hospital through the staff entrance and traveling discretely."
According to Depp, this lawsuit is not about seeking damages but about "principle." The actor noted how much damage has been done to his reputation by coverage of his personal life. So far, the companies and news outlets named in the lawsuit have not responded to it publicly.