LONDON (AP) — Author J.K. Rowling told a U.K. media ethics inquiry Thursday how she felt “under siege” from intrusive journalists, who staked out her house and even went so far as to slip a note into her 5-year-old daughter’s school bag.
The creator of boy wizard Harry Potter said media interest began shortly after the publication of her first novel in 1997 and soon escalated, with photographers and reporters frequently stationed outside her home.
“It feels threatening to have people watching you,” she said.
Once, her daughter came home from primary school and Rowling found a letter from a journalist in the child’s backpack.
“I felt such a sense of invasion,” Rowling said. “It’s very difficult to say how angry I felt that my 5-year-old daughter’s school was no longer a place of complete security from journalists.”
By the time her younger children were born in 2003 and 2005, Rowling said, the scrutiny was “like being under siege and like being a hostage.”
Rowling was the latest in a string of prominent people to tell the inquiry about the distressing effect on their lives of intense press interest.
Earlier Thursday, actress Sienna Miller said she was left paranoid and scared by years of relentless tabloid pursuit that ranged from paparazzi outside her house to the hacking of her mobile phone.
Miller said the surveillance, and a stream of personal stories about her in the tabloids, led her to accuse friends and family of leaking information to the media. In fact, her cell phone voice mails had been hacked by Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid.
“I felt like I was living in some sort of video game,” she said.
She called the paparazzi focus terrifying.
“For a number of years I was relentlessly pursued by 10 to 15 men, almost daily,” she said. “Spat at, verbally abused.
“I would often find myself, at the age of 21, at midnight, running down a dark street on my own with 10 men chasing me. And the fact they had cameras in their hands made that legal.”
Miller, the star of “Layer Cake” and “Alfie,” was one of the first celebrities to take the News of the World to court over illegal eavesdropping. In May, the newspaper agreed to pay her 100,000 pounds ($160,000) to settle claims her phone had been hacked.View Entire Story
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