Hugh Grant may have good reason to feel personally violated by the unfolding phone-hacking scandal in Britain. But the actor tells PEOPLE he went public in helping to expose the scheme because of a much larger sense of outrage.
“The crusade against the people who hacked my phone is just the beginning of it,” Grant, 50, says in a new interview. “I don’t think I would be on a crusade if it weren’t for the fact that … they were winked at by the police, and winked at by our government.”
Grant is among those calling for a full investigation into the alleged phone hacking by journalists in Rupert Murdoch‘s media empire – to determine just how widespread the corruption has been. “Although a lot of my stuff comes from personal grievance, I also am properly outraged for my country,” he says.
Grant believes more than a “personal grievance,” he has “properly outraged for my country.” And when the story of murdered school girl Milly Dowler voice mail being accessed broke in The Guardian, “that’s when the whole nation rose up in revulsion,” he says.
Learning his own phone had been hacked, allegedly by the News of the World newspaper, which has been shuttered due to the scandal, he says, “feels like an incredible violation.” He adds: “There’s a culture of pure evil and … very seldom you see it, its black back breaks the surface of life, and one of those examples is the British tabloid press.”
“It goes very, very deep, a kind of atavistic rage, and that’s how I felt,” Grant says. “And pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to who’s been hacked feels really deeply outraged and really determined to get vengeance.”
But Grant says he isn’t seeking money, only justice. “At the moment my position is not to take legal action, because my motive in this is not money,” he says. “My motive is exposing this scandal, and in some ways I feel my voice is better heard if I’m completely clean of any financial motivation.”
BY LIZ CORCORAN