Celebrities Celebrating News of the World Demise

VIDEO: Actor accuses News of the World reporters of having no morals.
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Celebrities are dancing on the grave of British tabloid News of the World, which published its last issue Sunday after a phone hacking scandal brought down the 168-year-old paper.

"Today is a fantastic day for Britain," singer George Michael, a victim of illegal phone hacking, tweeted last Thursday, when it was abruptly announced that the paper would be closing.

"You gotta have faith in Karma," said the singer of the hit "Faith." "Today it's very real."

George Michael.

Hugh Grant, another phone-hacking target, also took pleasure in the paper's sudden demise, though he intimated that the scandal goes beyond News of the World.

"This is the watershed moment when, finally, the public starts to see and feel, above all, just how low and how disgusting this particular newspaper's methods were. And what will emerge shortly is that it wasn't just this newspaper," Grant told CBS' "The Early Show" last Friday.

Grant also lashed out at one of the tabloid's former reporters on the BBC, saying, ''You guys had no morals, no scruples at all. You didn't care who got hurt, just as long as you were able to sell your newspaper for a lot of money. Your only motive was profit.''

News of the World employees illegally eavesdropped on phone messages of celebrities, politicians, royal staffers and, as recently revealed, terror and murder victims.

The paper was once the flagship of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp empire. Murdoch owns the New York Post, Fox News and more in the United States, but his British holdings, which includes a major TV network and almost 40 percent of the newspapers sold, are even greater.

Upon announcing the paper's closing, Murdoch's son, James Murdoch, who heads News International's European operations, said the paper's good deeds "have been sullied by behavior that was wrong; indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our company."

The scandal has far-reaching political consequences as well. British Prime Minister David Cameron's former director of communications, Andy Coulson, who resigned in January, was arrested last Friday over his alleged involvement in phone-hacking practices that took place when he was News of the World editor.

For celebrities, who deal with constant intrusions of their privacy, the news is particularly sweet. Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law were all victims of illegal phone tapping.

The royal family was one of the early targets.

Princess Diana.

Predating the current scandal was a more primitive breach in the 1990s, when the Sun, another British tabloid, published recordings of phone conversations by members of the royal family. One revelation: James Gilbey, a close friend of Princess Diana's, referred to her affectionately as "Squidgy."

Grant recently spoke to former News of the World reporter Paul McMullen -- and secretly taped their conversation -- about those early practices.

"Historically, the way it went was [that] in the early days of mobiles we all had analogue mobiles and that was an absolute joy. You know, you just ... sat outside Buckingham Palace with a £59 scanner ... and get Prince Charles and everything he said," McMullen said, according to a transcript Grant published in Britain's New Statesman in April.

The current scandal first broke in 2005 when Buckingham Palace initially suspected outside tampering with Prince William's voice mail. News of the World published an article about a knee injury he sustained and that only a small circle of people knew about. His staff went to the police with their suspicions.

Prince William.

In August 2006, police arrested the paper's royal editor, Clive Goodman, and Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator who hacked into the voicemails for him. Both did jail time in 2007.

During Mulcaire's indictment, it became clear that the paper was targeting more than just the royals. Elle MacPherson was among those named.

Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, Prince William and Prince Harry's private secretary, and Heather Mills, Paul McCartney's ex-wife, were also warned by Scotland Yard that their phone messages were being intercepted.

After learning that she had been a target, actress Sienna Miller, Jude Law's on-again, off-again girlfriend, sued News Corp., the parent company of News of the World, for breach of privacy and harassment.

According to a legal document obtained by The Guardian, Miller suspected her mobile phone was not secure and changed it twice, but Mulcaire's handwritten notes show that he was able to obtain the new number, account number, pin code and password for all three phones.

Jude Law and Sienna Miller.

He obtained similar details for a phone belonging to Law.

Miller settled the case just last month, reportedly for £100,000.

Comedian Steve Coogan, star of "Tropic Thunder" and "Night at the Museum," is still battling his case with News Corp.

According to The Guardian, Coogan's witness statement showed: "He conducts business by voicemail messages. He tends to let messages stack up ... There is essentially a treasure trove of commercial information on his voicemail at any one time."

Coogan's lawsuit is most likely not the last.

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