Hugh Grant has blasted publishing mogul James Murdoch's decision to shut down British tabloid News of the World over a phone-tapping scandal, as a "cynical managerial maneuver."
The British star, who played a journalist in the "Bridget Jones's Diary" films, called for a complete overhaul of the U.K. tabloid newspaper industry earlier this week after it was revealed the families of murder victims and those affected by the 2005 London Underground bombings may have been targeted in the headline-grabbing scandal.
On Thursday Murdoch announced this Sunday's issue of the News of the World would be its last - after 168 years in print.
But Grant is annoyed because the move has left hundreds of innocent employees out of work, while former editor Rebekah Brooks has kept her job as a chief executive at the newspaper's parent company News International.
Appearing on Britain's political debate show Question Time on Thursday evening, Grant said, "I think we should see this for what it is - it is a very cynical managerial maneuver which has put several hundred not evil people... a lot of certainly non-editorial staff out of work and has kept, in particular, one woman, who was the editor while (murdered schoolgirl) Milly Dowler was being hacked in a highly paid job."
Meanwhile, another victim of the U.K.'s tabloid media, Lily Allen, took to Twitter.com to comment on the decision to close the News of the World and keep the newspaper's former editor employed at News International. She writes, "Rebekah Brooks must have something on the Murdochs, or she gave them a really nice christmas (sic) present."
Reports emerged this week claiming journalists at the tabloid, under the editorship of Brooks, interfered with the police investigation into Dowler's death in 2002 by tapping the phones of her family. The 13 year old was abducted on her way home in Surrey, England, before her body was found six months later. Last month, Levi Bellfield was found guilty of her murder and sentenced to life in prison.