Phone hacking: 5 celebrities who have been stung
Scarlett Johansson has reportedly enlisted the FBI to determine who hacked into her phone and leaked nude photos of the Hollywood actor onto the internet.
The pictures in question surfaced online on Tuesday, and appear to have been taken by Johansson herself. On Thursday, Johansson’s attorney, Marty Singer, sent emails to a number of celebrity gossip sites, including TMZ, urging them to take down these “stolen copyright protected private photographs.”
Johannson isn’t the first celebrity to engage the FBI in a phone-hacking case. The U.S. agency is investigating a hacking ring responsible for as many as 50 breaches of celebrity email accounts, including those of Jessica Alba, Miley Cyrus and Christina Aguilera.
Here’s a look at some of the most prominent celebrity phone-hacking incidents.
In February 2005, a Massachusetts teen gained access to Hilton’s Sidekick cellphone and posted the contents — which included phone numbers and email addresses for fellow stars like Ashlee Simpson and Eminem — on the web. The hacker breached the socialite’s phone by gaining access to the telephone records system of T-Mobile International and then exploiting a security flaw in the company's website.
Around Christmas 2010, the British actor’s car broke down on a remote road near Kent. Who should drive by but Paul McMullan, a former reporter with the News of the World. After snapping some photos of Grant for posterity, McMullan offered him a ride, during which McMullan confirmed that News of the World had been hacking Grant’s phone for years.
McMullan, who now operates a pub in Dover, invited Grant to come back for a drink. Several months later, Grant did so — but he was wearing a wire. McMullan spoke at greater length about the invasive journalistic practices at News of the World, and Grant published highlights from the covert interview in the New Statesman newspaper.
In June, hackers released a score of suggestive photos, including four nudes, of someone resembling the Gossip Girl star. The actor’s representatives denied that the images were of Lively, but nonetheless threatened legal action against any site that published them. The hackers responded with a taunt: “Oh, yes, Blake’s rep. These are totally fake. We really, really believe you. Want moar [sic]?” The case remains unresolved.
In the same week that stolen photos of Scarlett Johansson went viral, Mila Kunis experienced her own hack attack. On Wednesday, TMZ reported that four photos taken from Kunis’s phone — including two of Friends with Benefits co-star Justin Timberlake — had been posted to the web.