Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are speaking out after a private investigator admitted to being hired by a British tabloid to dig into the Duchess of Sussex’s personal life during the first few years she dated Harry.
Daniel Portley-Hanks, the American P.I., told the BBC he illegally obtained personal info belonging to Markle and her family members, including her address, phone number, and social security number during a dig for dirt for The Sun.
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A spokesperson for Meghan and Harry say that the admission of illegally obtaining the info is proof that they have, from the jump, experienced predatory behavior from the U.K. media.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex feel that today is an important moment of reflection for the media industry and society at large, as this investigative report shows that the predatory practices of days past are still ongoing, reaping irreversible damage for families and relationships,” the spokesperson stated, according to Vanity Fair.
They continued, adding that there are many outlets who “stand for upholding the values of journalism, which are needed now more than ever before.”
Hanks said he is “deeply sorry” for what he did and is “available” if the royal couple’s lawyers want to speak with him. He also says he decided to come forward about his work for The Sun “to clear my conscience,” the BBC reports.
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The publishers of The Sun, News Group Newspapers, released a statement relaying that they hired Hanks, but claimed he “was not tasked to do anything illegal or breach any privacy laws — indeed he was instructed clearly in writing to act lawfully and he signed a legal undertaking that he would do so.”
Prince Harry is currently involved in a lawsuit against The Sun in a separate case. PEOPLE reports he filed claims in October 2019 against News UK, who owns the publication, and MGN, the former owner of The Mirror, through the High Court regarding alleged illegal interception of voicemail messages.