Church sang for Murdoch and Deng ‘in return for good press’

Nov 28, 2011

Singer claims she waived £100,000 fee to perform for media baron – and never received the favourable coverage

SINGER Charlotte Church has told the Leveson Inquiry that she was asked to sing at Rupert Murdoch's wedding to Wendy Deng when she was just 13, and was given the choice of a £100,000 fee or "favourable" coverage in the media baron's newspapers.
She told the inquiry she and her mother did not want to turn down the money, but said: "I was being advised by my management and certain members of the record company that he was a very, very powerful man and I could absolutely do with a favour of this magnitude."

The Guardian describes the claim as a "sensational disclosure".

The inquiry was told that News International had denied the allegation, insisting that Church's performance was a surprise to Murdoch. Yet Church said she remembered correspondence in which she asked whether the media tycoon was sure he wanted her to sing Pie Jesu, a funeral song, on his wedding day. He replied that he not care, he wanted her to sing it anyway.
The Welsh singer is the latest celebrity to outline their treatment at the hands of the press. Church found fame at the age of 11, and released a number one album of classical songs.
Church said that despite taking the “favourable coverage” option, the Murdoch-owned press had become the "worst offenders, so much that I have sometimes felt that there has actually been a deliberate agenda".
The inquiry heard that in the build-up to her 16th birthday, when she reached the age of consent, The Sun ran a countdown clock. Her phone was also hacked when she was 17 years old.
She also told the inquiry how she was hounded by the paparazzi as a teenager and that they would try and take pictures up her skirt and down her top.
Church, now 25, signed off by suggesting that newspaper editors should be subjected to the same level of scrutiny and intrusion as the celebrities they hound. 

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