The journalist who broke Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s “Megxit” story and caused international headlines after claiming Johnny Depp was a “wife beater” is at the center of a bizarre media scandal that has erupted across the pond.
Byline News first reported Wootton had targeted media colleagues, friends, and members of the public for more than a decade, posing as a fictitious celebrity agent named “Martin Branning” and offering tens of thousands of dollars to men in return for them filming themselves engaging in sex acts.
In an extraordinary legal letter sent to all U.K. newsrooms last Wednesday, which was obtained and reviewed by Confider, lawyers from Mishcon de Reya LLP, who represent Wootton, claimed the Byline Times reporting “is replete with false allegations about our client, including the grave allegation that our client has committed criminal acts by using illegal means to obtain compromising sexual material from scores of male victims whom he has targeted in a multi-year criminal conspiracy operation.”
Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to the Confider newsletter here and have The Daily Beast media team’s stellar reporting sent straight to your inbox every Monday night.
Wootton, whom Prince Harry branded a “sad little man” in his autobiography, admitted making “errors of judgment” in a bizarre on-air mea culpa last week but also claimed he was a victim of a “witch hunt” by “nefarious players.”
“I, like all fallible human beings, have made errors of judgment in the past. But the criminal allegations being made against me are simply untrue,” he told his GB News audience while not elaborating on those errors of judgment.
Over the weekend, Wootton started crowdsourcing to help pay his legal bills. Meantime, News UK has brought in an external law firm to investigate and called upon staffers to come forward with information.
A spokesperson for News UK told Confider: “We are looking into the allegations made in recent days. We are not able to make any further comment at this stage.”
A rep for Mail Online, where Wootton’s column has not appeared since June 29, said: “We are aware of the allegations and are looking into them.” Wootton declined to comment.
Subscribe to the Confider newsletter here and have The Daily Beast media team’s stellar reporting sent straight to your inbox every Monday night.