Hugh Grant hits back at 'rude' Sajid Javid in handshake row
Hugh Grant has hit back at Sajid Javid after being criticised for refusing to shake the Chancellor’s hand at a film premiere.
In an interview with ES Magazine, Mr Javid said the actor had been “incredibly rude” during the red carpet event for Martin Scorsese’s new film The Irishman, starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, earlier this month.
Grant, 59, has responded on Twitter to give his reasons for not shaking Mr Javid’s hand, saying he felt the politician had been “rude and dismissive” to victims of press abuse.
The Love, Actually and Bridget Jones star was one of the celebrity victims of the phone-hacking scandal, and became a prominent backer of the Hacked Off campaign calling for press reform.
In his interview, Javid, 49, told the magazine: “I recognised him and put my hand out and said, ‘Lovely to meet you’, and you know what he does? He refuses to shake my hand.
“He says, ‘I am not shaking your hand’. I am completely shocked.
“He said, ‘When you were culture secretary you didn’t support my friends in (anti-media intrusion campaign) Hacked Off.’
“I think that is incredibly rude. I wonder if people like Hugh Grant think they are part of the elite and they look down on working class people no matter what station they reach in life.”
But Grant said he wanted to put across his “side of the story”, saying the victims he was referring to during the encounter were not celebrities.
He posted a statement from his spokesman, which said that when the handshake was offered, Grant’s response was: “If you don’t mind, I won’t shake your hand because you were rude and dismissive to the victims of press abuse when you met them as culture secretary.”
The spokesman’s statement continued: “Hugh would like to point out that the victims in question were not celebrities.
“They were people with personal family tragedies who had been abused by sections of the press.”
He said Grant was referring to a meeting between Mr Javid and “the victims of press abuse… (who) reported back that his attitude in the meeting was ‘borderline contemptuous’.”
Grant, who gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics, received substantial damages from Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) after settling his claim over illegal phone hacking in 2018.