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George Michael accuses NOTW of trying to “destroy” him

By | Published on Tuesday 12 July 2011

George Michael

George Michael has taken to Twitter once more to reel off yet more accusations about newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News International, as the phone-hacking scandal engulfing the newspaper company continues to grow.

As well as accusing News Of The World photographers of attempting to hack into his computer, Michael also identifies occasions when he believes members of the press were tipped off about his various indiscretions by corrupt police officers. Members of the Metropolitan Police illegally handing over information to NOTW and Sun journalists, probably for money, is also part of the scandal, of course. The singer is particularly convinced the tabloids were tipped off by police officers when he was arrested for engaging in a lewd act in 1998 and for driving under the influence of drugs in 2007.

As previously reported, as the long-running phone-hacking scandal first start to escalate last week, Michael celebrated the demise of the NOTW, while claiming via Twitter: “[Former NOTW/Sun Editor and current NI CEO] Rebekah Brooks sat two feet from me in my own home and told me that it was never the public that came to them with information on celebrities, and that the police always got there first. Don’t ask me how she got there. Believe me, I didn’t invite her!”

Yesterday, back on the micro-blogging platform, he provided more background on his run-ins with the now defunct Sunday tabloid, accusing the paper of hacking into his computer. He tweeted: “The two photographers who sat outside my house in their cars night after night for several years were regularly seen with computers open on their laps. I presumed for years that I was under surveillance. In fact, one night in particular, I strolled over the road to one of them and tapped on his window and said: ‘I hope you like my taste in men'”.

As he tweeted more and more accusations and revelations, he noted: “Just spoke to my lawyer… apparently [the police] want to interview me about my comments on Rebekah Brooks here on Twitter. Like I said, glad to help. I have way more to tell the police than I can tweet to you here… Believe it or not, I’ve been careful so far!”

Expanding on the subject of police being paid for information, he went on: “Don’t get me wrong, I met (a lot!) of perfectly decent policemen and women in my darkest, most shameful hours, but I [also] knew that the press would get to my house before I did [after any arrest]. On every occasion, some little creep in that police station would have called the press, cap in hand, and made a nice little wad of cash. I just became resigned to it. Perks of the job in the Met”.

He continued: “But it was the first court trial that [really] blew my mind. Right now I am trying to get together transcripts and other information. Not because it will make any difference to me. It won’t. In fact, I can safely say that I am one of the few people amongst the thousands of News International’s targets to have genuinely benefited from Murdoch’s attempts to destroy me. No, if I decide to say anything about how my first conviction came about – besides the fact that I was an idiot – it will be because I love my country, and I believe its judicial system MUST be trustworthy”.

He concluded: “I am NOT trying to exonerate myself of anything, I did something bad and got my ‘Karmuppance’, as I like to think of it. It’s just that the sequence of events between my being arrested and finally convicted for sleeping pills and exhaustion seemed extremely, well, let’s just call it… illegal. I was going to say odd, but sod it, they seemed at the very least, outside of normal legal procedure. These are only my suspicions, but I think that if they hold water, then it’s very important that they come to light for everyone’s sake”.

The wider News International scandal continues, of course, despite the closure of the News Of The World this weekend. Allegations of illegal practices have now been made against other NI newspaper titles, putting more pressure on the executives who oversee the company, in particular Brooks, and the Murdochs James and Rupert.

In a bid to halt the negative impact of the scandal on his bid to buy BSkyB outright, Murdoch Snr yesterday requested his big telly deal be reviewed by the Competition Commission. Murdoch’s News Corp had previously tried, successfully, to persuade the UK government that a Competition Commission review was not necessary, mainly by promising to spin Sky News off as a separate company. But with the entire political community now amassing in opposition to the Murdoch empire, he presumably reckons there’s a better chance of getting the BSkyB deal approved by competition regulators than via any alternative approach that relies on political favours.

The Competition Commission may rule that complete ownership of Sky in addition to News International’s The Sun, Times and Sunday Times would give News Corp too much dominance in the wider British media industry. With Sky vastly more profitable than NI, and with The Sun looking likely to become as tarnished as its closed down sister title, some wonder whether Murdoch will look to offload his British newspaper company altogether, so that market dominance concerns re Sky will no longer exist. Such a move, although inconceivable just over a week ago, would be likely to win the approval of News Corp shareholders back in the US, who have been long been more enthusiastic about TV than print media, which they see as a dying industry.