Mila Kunis Is Semper Fi; Hugh Grant Hacks a Hacker

Tuesday, 19 Jul 2011 08:22 PM

By James Hirsen

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The Left Coast Report: A Political Look at Hollywood

A Newsmax Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Jude Law Hack Claim May Open Murdoch to U.S. Charges
2. Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake Act on Marine Dates
3. Hugh Grant Hacks a Hacker
4. Jane Fonda Claims QVC Strong-Armed Her
5. Hacking Scandal Causes News Corp. Power Shift
 

1. Jude Law Hack Claim May Open Murdoch to U.S. Charges

New legal problems for News Corp. are surfacing in the United States.

The latest headache comes on the heels of an announcement that the FBI has opened an investigation into allegations that Rupert Murdoch's News of the World newspaper attempted to hack victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Murdoch's media empire may soon have to deal with the first high-profile case of alleged hacking to have taken place within U.S. jurisdiction, although it involves a U.K. celebrity.

Actor Jude Law asserts that he and his personal assistant, Ben Jackson, had their cellphones illegally accessed following their arrival at New York's JFK airport.

If such an incident actually took place in the United States and utilized American-based cellular networks, it would open the door for News Corp., or its subsidiary News International (parent company of News of the World), to be prosecuted criminally and sued civilly, even if the perpetrator was located abroad.

The purported hacking could be prosecuted under federal wiretap acts, and Law and Jackson could sue for damages in a civil court on invasion of privacy grounds.


2. Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake Act on Marine Dates

"Friends With Benefits" stars Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake will both be appearing at the Marine Corps Ball this November, each dating a Marine.

Timberlake accepted servicewoman Kelsey De Santis' YouTube invitation, calling it an "honor."

Despite media reports to the contrary, Kunis will be on the arm of Sgt. Scott Moore, who was the first to ask a celebrity to the military bash via YouTube.

The date sparked a feud of sorts between Kunis and "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush.

Despite Kunis' acceptance of Moore's video date request, Bush reported that the actress had declined the invitation to go to the ball with the Marine due to work conflicts.

Kunis accused Bush of fabricating the story.

"Do not believe what Billy Bush says," Kunis said. "Please, I beg of you. Never did I say that I was not going. He made it up and people believed it, unfortunately."

"I am attending [the ball] . . . I accepted an invitation and I'm staying true to my word," she added.


3. Hugh Grant Hacks a Hacker

Hugh Grant is proud of making a secret recording of his private conversation with a former News of the World reporter.

The journalist, Paul McMullan, allegedly admitted to Grant that the newspaper's employees had hacked Grant's cellphone.

Six years ago, Grant's car broke down and McMullan gave him a lift. During the drive, McMullan apparently bragged about some unique methods of obtaining stories.

"I was revolted and astonished," Grant said in a satellite interview with the BBC, "and then I went back a few months later to the pub he now runs in Dover and pretended to be dropping in for a pint, and I bugged him. It seemed like symmetry. And I got him talking again about these things, and I published them all in the New Statesman."

Grant added that on the recording McMullan spoke about money being paid by the tabloid to the Metropolitan Police.

McMullan, who was in the BBC studio, called the actor's undercover work "hilarious."

"I mean, how can Hugh Grant coming into your pub with a silly little pen trying to record you be anything other than hilarious? I didn't mind being turned over," McMullan said.

McMullan quipped that "you can't believe an actor who's very well-known would lower himself to such tactics."

Although authorities at the time didn't seem to be interested in McMullan's disclosures, they certainly are now.

"It felt like symmetry for sure," Grant told Entertainment Weekly. "You know, they hacked me, I hacked him."


4. Jane Fonda Claims QVC Strong-Armed Her

No, Jane Fonda wasn't forced to buy a designer handbag against her will.

But she does claim to be a victim of QVC policies, and blames right-wing political pressure.

Fonda, a.k.a. Hanoi Jane, was due to appear on the home-shopping channel over the past weekend to promote "Prime Time," her new self-help book.

QVC abruptly canceled the appearance.

Not accustomed to being dissed, the actress used her website to claim that the network had bowed to pressure from political activists.

Fonda may have been thinking that some Americans were still angry at her because during the Vietnam War, while our soldiers were being shot at, taken captive, and tortured, she posed with and endorsed the enemy.

"The network said they got a lot of calls yesterday criticizing me for my opposition to the Vietnam War and threatening to boycott the show if I was allowed to appear," Fonda wrote, claiming that "QVC caved to this kind of insane pressure by some well funded and organized political extremist groups."

"I do not understand what the far right stands to gain by continuing with these myths. In this case, they denied a lot of people the chance to hear about a book that can help make life better, easier, and more fulfilling. I am deeply grateful for all of the support I have been getting since this happened, including from my Vietnam Veterans friends," Fonda added.

QVC told the Associated Press that Fonda's appearance was canceled due to a routine programming change.

During the Vietnam War, Fonda visited North Vietnam's capital and starred in radio broadcasts that slammed U.S. policies. But she is better known for a photo she posed for peering at an anti-aircraft gun sight, which was used to shoot down American pilots.

To her credit, Fonda in 2009 told CBS's "60 Minutes," "I will go to my grave regretting that. The image of Jane Fonda, Barbarella, Henry Fonda's daughter, just a woman sitting on a enemy aircraft gun, was a betrayal."

Unfortunately, Fonda did not express the same regrets for the radio broadcasts.

"Our government was lying to us, and men were dying because of it." Fonda added, "And I felt that I had to do anything that I could to expose the lies, and help end the war. That was my goal."


5. Hacking Scandal Causes News Corp. Power Shift

The Hollywood business community can't help but be engrossed in the developments of the News Corp. News of the World scandal.

Rupert Murdoch's vast media empire includes some of the most powerful companies in the entertainment industry. Movie and TV production and distribution giants Fox Filmed Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film, and 20th Century Fox Television are a significant part of News Corp.'s entertainment media muscle.

Throw into the mix the Fox Broadcasting Company, the Fox Television Stations group, and assorted cable operations, and the result is a conglomerate that the major Hollywood players are obliged to watch closely.

With potential and ongoing investigations here and abroad, legal entanglements hovering in criminal and civil courts, and resignations of high-ranking executives being submitted, it is clear that News Corp. will not be the same after the dust of the phone-hacking scandal settles.

However, one key executive in the company may ultimately emerge as one of the most powerful people in the media.

Chase Carey has been an employee of News Corp. since 1988. He has held the position of COO of Fox, Inc., and CEO of Fox Broadcasting. He also assisted in the launch of Fox Sports and Fox News. Currently, he is deputy chairman, president and COO of News Corp.

Carey took over the posts after Hollywood insider Peter Chernin exited in 2009.

Until the scandal broke, Rupert's youngest son, James, was widely viewed as the heir apparent to Murdoch's media throne. But now with James Murdoch targeted by the U.K. investigations, Carey seems to be taking a more prominent position, right behind 80-year-old Rupert.

Reports indicated that Carey was the executive who, along with Murdoch, made the decisions to close down News of the World and abandon the BSkyB bid.

Wall Street sources reported that Carey initiated the recent sale of MySpace and the buyback of News Corp. stock.

Carey is purportedly an advocate of splitting up the holdings of News Corp., with the newspapers in one autonomous entity and the film, broadcast, and cable companies in another.

Unlike his predecessor and most Hollywood power players, Carey is not into glam or the chic nightlife scene.

The Los Angeles Times seemed to express a sort of Left Coast disappointment that this potential power player possessed some conventional traits and down-home desires.

"Carey's idea of the perfect night is a six-pack and a Yankees game," the newspaper said. "Unlike Chernin, who enjoyed the glitz of the entertainment industry, Carey ducks the limelight and seldom pops up on the fundraiser and award-show circuit."

Wall Street, on the other hand, apparently likes what it sees in Carey and finds comfort in his business focus and negotiation track record.

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