UK tabloid paid private investigator $2K for info on Meghan Markle: report
The Sun allegedly paid a private investigator more than $2,000 to get Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’s personal information when word first spread that Prince Harry was dating her in 2016, The New York Times reported on Thursday.
Receipts obtained by the Times show that the British tabloid’s New York-based editor James Beal enlisted famed private detective Daniel Portley-Hanks, more commonly known as “Danno,” to help get the coveted info.
Portley-Hanks sold information on the former Meghan Markle and her family, including phone numbers, addresses and Social Security numbers to The Sun for $2,055, the Times reports.
Portley-Hanks, who is now retired but had a long career investigating celebrities, acknowledged that the information he provided the Sun resulted in several high-profile “exclusives” about the future duchess and her family. The information also led to contact with Meghan’s estranged half-sister Samantha Markle, who called Meghan “shallow” and a “social climber,” and father Thomas Markle, with whom she also has a strained relationship.
“Prince Harry’s new flame has been called a pushy diva by her sister,” one photo caption from The Sun’s original interview with Samantha Markle reads.
It’s unlawful in the U.S. for private investigators to share personal information they uncover with news outlets.
“I strongly believe that James Beal knew that what I was providing him was obtained illegally,” Portley-Hanks told the Times.
Neither Portley-Hanks nor the Sun immediately responded to The Hill’s request for comment.
Meghan and Prince Harry elaborated on their famously negative experience with the British press in the bombshell sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired this month. During the interview, the duchess made claims of racist behavior by the tabloids and within the royal family.
“We haven’t created this monster machine around us in terms of clickbait and tabloid fodder,” Meghan said about Buckingham Palace during her interview, noting the symbiotic relationship between the palace and the press. “You’ve allowed that to happen.”
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