Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney
Rupert Murdoch said he was sorry twice within 24 hours on Thursday while also demanding an apology from the Australian Broadcasting Corp. – all over a series of tweets from earlier in the week. Last Saturday, Murdoch tweeted: “Told UK’s Cameron receiving scumbag celebrities pushing for even more privacy laws. Trust the toffs! Transparency under attack. Bad.” Prime Minister David Cameron had earlier met with reps for the anti-phone-hacking campaign Hacked Off including Hugh Grant, Charlotte Church and former BBC host Jacqui Hames. In response to Murdoch’s missive, Hames wrote: “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story eh Rupert. Happy to discuss our concerns with you sometime?” Murdoch replied: “I did not say all celebrities were scumbags. Check my tweet. And apology to any who misunderstood.” Another Twitter user wrote: “Scumbags”? And your journalists and executives are what?” Referring to Grant, Murdoch riposted: “They don’t get arrested for indecency on major LA highways! Or abandon love child’s.” Grant was reported to be considering legal action, The Guardian said. Murdoch tried to defuse the situation by taking to Twitter again: “Hugh Grant states that he is deeply involved in his daughter’s life – I accept that, regret tweet on the matter. Apologies to both parents.” In Australia, the ABC’s website reported Murdoch’s “scumbag celebrities” quote which incensed the mogul. The frequent critic of the public broadcaster tweeted: “Typical ABC in Oz alleged I called hacking victims scumbags. Direct lie. Major correction and apology please.” Far from apologizing, an ABC spokesman tells Deadline, “It seems he is preoccupied with his own apology issues.”
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