Business of Media
The Sun faces fresh claims of phone hacking during Rebekah Brooks era
The Sun is facing fresh allegations that phone hacking took place at the newspaper, including when the News UK chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, was editor, reports The Guardian’s Jim Waterson.
Rupert Murdoch’s media company has always said illegal voicemail interception only took place at the now defunct News of the World newspaper and no illegality occurred at The Sun.
Yet in recent years the company has, without any admission of liability, reached financial settlements with three individuals who made specific claims that phone hacking took place at The Sun.
There are now eight additional “Sun-only claims” working their way through the legal system. The group is led by the actor Hugh Grant, who has been joined by the 7/7 London bombings survivor John Tulloch, the jockey Kieren Fallon, and David Beckham’s father, Ted. The other individuals making Sun-only claims include Charlotte Church’s mother, Maria, George Best’s former agent Phil Hughes, Paul Gascoigne’s friend Jimmy “Five Bellies” Gardner and Tricia Bernal, the mother of the murdered stalking victim Clare Bernal.
All eight individuals were among the first News of the World phone-hacking victims to receive settlements from Murdoch’s company but are now alleging phone hacking also took place at The Sun.
Jury resumes deliberations in Alex Jones Sandy Hook defamation trial
A Connecticut jury resumed deliberations on Tuesday in a trial to determine how much conspiracy theorist Alex Jones must pay families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting for falsely claiming that the massacre was a hoax, reports Reuters’ Jack Queen.
Closing arguments concluded on Thursday in Waterbury, Connecticut, not far from where a gunman killed 20 small children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. Jurors deliberated all day on Friday but did not meet on Monday due to the federal holiday.
Jones claimed for years that the massacre was staged by the government as part of a plot to take away Americans’ guns.
In August, another jury found Jones and his company must pay $49.3 million to Sandy Hook parents in a similar case in Austin, Texas, where his Infowars website is based.
Angela Lansbury, entrancing star of stage and screen, dies at 96
Angela Lansbury, the irrepressible three-time Oscar nominee and five-time Tony Award winner who solved 12 seasons’ worth of crimes as the novelist/amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher on CBS’ Murder, She Wrote, has died. She was 96, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Mike Barnes.
Lansbury, who received an Emmy nomination for best actress in a drama series for each and every season of Murder, She Wrote — yet never won — died in her sleep at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday at her home in Los Angeles, her family announced. She was five days shy of her birthday.
Lansbury went 0-for-18 in career Emmy noms but did get some love from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who gave her an honorary Oscar in 2013 for her career as “an entertainment icon who has created some of cinema’s most memorable characters, inspiring generations of actors.”
Adnan Syed: All charges dropped in Serial podcast case
US prosecutors have dropped all charges against a Baltimore man whose case garnered worldwide attention through the hit true crime podcast Serial, reports the BBC.
Adnan Syed served 23 years in prison after he was convicted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee.
But his conviction was quashed last month, and on Tuesday it was announced that all charges had been dropped.
“Finally, Adnan Syed is able to live as a free man,” his lawyer, Erica Suter, said in a statement.
“Adnan is innocent and lost 23 years of his life serving time for a crime he did not commit,” she added.
In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Baltimore’s state attorney Marilyn Mosby said the dropping of charges means the case against Syed is closed and he cannot be charged again.
The charges were dropped due to the completion of touch DNA testing on Lee’s clothes for the first time, which uncovered multiple DNA samples on her shoes – none of which belonged to Adnan Syed.
Tributes pour in after Carrie Bickmore announces she will leave The Project
Carrie Bickmore‘s colleagues and friends have paid emotional tributes after she announced she would be leaving The Project after 13 years, reports News Corp’s Eli Green.
Lisa Wilkinson took to Instagram to express all her “love and admiration” for the Gold Logie winner.
“I feel so lucky to have now also shared the last five years at the Project desk with you, Carrie,” desk buddy Lisa Wilkinson said in an Instagram post.
“Thanks too for your guidance and support right from day one…and for always knowing just the right moment to reach out with a kind word.”
Wilkinson was not the only one of Bickmore‘s colleagues to pay tribute to the star, with Tommy Little describing her as “the best in the business”.
Wiggles documentary leads Amazon’s new Aussie content
A Wiggles documentary will be one of the highlights of Amazon’s Prime Video Australian content line-up in 2023, reports Nine Publishing’s Karl Quinn.
Hot Potato will trace the rise of the band-turned-brand from pub rockers and early childhood educators to global phenomenon over a span of more than 30 years.
“They are truly a great entertainment export story,” says director Sally Aitken, whose previous work includes David Stratton’s Stories of Australian Cinema, The Pacific: In the Wake of Captain Cook, with Sam Neill, and Playing With Sharks: The Valerie Taylor Story.
“The film has the very deep universal themes of any heroic journey, with an unlikely group in a sea of disbelievers chasing an impossible dream, and getting there. That’s not just an Australian story, it’s what the great films are made of.”
According to Aitken, the four original members – who collectively refer to themselves as the OG Wiggles – “don’t really like talking about their success”. They have, however, expressed hope that the film might prove it wasn’t merely due to blind luck.
‘Dahmer’ vaults to no. 2 all time on Netflix English-language series chart
Netflix’s Jeffrey Dahmer limited series is now the second most-watched English language title in the platform’s history, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Rick Porter.
The streamer’s rankings for the week of Oct. 3-9 show Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story racking up 205.33 million hours of viewing time worldwide, ranking first for the third week in a row. That brings the Ryan Murphy Productions series’ total to 701.37 million hours since its Sept. 21 debut — good for second place on Netflix’s all-time ranking of English-language series. Dahmer passed season two of Bridgerton (656.26 million hours over its first 28 days) over the course of the week.
It trails only season four of Stranger Things (1.35 billion hours) among English-language Netflix shows; the company’s all-time rankings are based on viewing within 28 days of a title’s release.
Dahmer also sits fourth among Netflix series in any language, behind Squid Game (1.65 billion hours over its first 28 days), Stranger Things 4 and the final season of Money Heist (792.23 million). The first two are likely out of reach, but the remaining nine days of Dahmer’s 28-day window should push it past Money Heist.