“Harry Potter” author JK Rowling testified at the Leveson Inquiry on Thursday, describing how the British tabloid press hounded her family like death eaters.
“It really was like being under siege or like a hostage,” Rowling said, explaining that the she could not leave her house without being photographed after her second and third children were born.
Rowling, who is not a victim of phone-hacking, described an instance when she was walking with her oldest daughter and newborn son when she noticed they were being photographed. She attempted to run away.
“How I thought I was going to outrun a 20-something paparazzo while pushing a buggy...,” Rowling said. “My daughter was [saying], ‘Calm down Mum, calm down, don’t be silly, it doesn’t matter,’ but it mattered hugely to me that the moment I set foot outside the door, my children were being photographed again. So the cumulative effect, it becomes quite draining.”
The author also said she once found a note from a journalist in her then five-year-old daughter’s schoolbag.
Rowling also described how her then boyfriend, now husband, Neil Murray, gave personal information over the phone to a journalist posing as someone from a tax office. “That was a not very nice introduction to being involved with someone famous,” she said.
Actress Sienna Miller, who successfully sued News of the World for hacking into her mobile phone, also testified Thursday to the “terrifying” experience of being chased by the paparazzi.
“It’s terrifying not only for the person experiencing it but for friends who are with me, family members who are with me, for the people driving the cars,” she said. “I would often find myself — I was 21 — at midnight running down a dark street on my own with ten big men chasing me and the fact that they had cameras in their hands meant that that was legal, but if you take away the cameras, what have you got? You’ve got a pack of men chasing a woman and obviously that’s a very intimidating situation to be in.”
Miller said the intrusion into her privacy left her in a state of “complete anxiety and paranoia,” where she began to mistrust those close to her.