Coogan: ‘I’m Not A Paragon Of Virtue’

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November 22, 2011 | 11:15am EST

Steve Coogan is adamant the British media had no right to expose scandals in his private life because he has never pretended to be “a model of morality”.
The Tropic Thunder star has been the subject of several high-profile articles in U.K. newspapers during his career, detailing his drug use and tawdry tales of his sex life.

He is one of the leading campaigners for a reform of the media in his native Britain, and on Tuesday he appeared before a public inquiry into press standards to insist he’s not a legitimate target for the tabloids as he has never courted them.

Coogan told the hearing, “I don’t appear on panel shows as myself. I create comedy characters. I don’t sell myself as a person… There are people who exploit the press and are in the fame game. They do enter into a Faustian pact with the press. I haven’t.

“I have never set myself up as paragon of virtue, as a model of morality. I simply do what I do and that’s what I should be judged on – my work.”

The public inquiry into press standards in the U.K. was sparked by the News of the World phone hacking scandal earlier this year, when allegations a private investigator intercepted voicemail messages from cell phones belonging to crime victims led to the tabloid’s closure.

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