Rupert Murdoch said Thursday that the issue of sexual harassment at Fox News was “largely political” due to the network’s “conservative” leanings.
“It’s all nonsense,” Mr. Murdoch, co-executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, said on Sky News. “There was a problem with our chief executive, sort of over the year, isolated incidents.”
Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes was accused of sexually harassing women at the company and fostering a culture that allowed such incidents to take place throughout the company. He was terminated in 2016 and died earlier this year.
Other executives and on-air personalities at Fox News have also been accused of sexual harassment, leading to additional dismissals. But Mr. Murdoch said that many of the allegations have to do with politics.
“That was largely political because we are conservative. The liberals are going down the drain. NBC is in deep trouble,” he said. “There are really bad cases, and people should be moved aside. There are other things — which probably amount to a bit of flirting.”
“Rupert never characterized the sexual harassment matters at Fox News as ‘nonsense.’ Rather, he responded negatively to the suggestion that sexual harassment issues were an obstacle to the company’s bid for the rest of Sky. Under Rupert’s leadership and with his total support, the company exited Roger Ailes, compensated numerous women who were mistreated; trained virtually all of its employees; exited its biggest star; and hired a new head of HR,” said a 21st Century Fox spokesperson.
“By his actions, Rupert has made it abundantly clear that he understands that there were real problems at Fox News. Rupert values all of the hard-working colleagues at Fox News, and will continue to address these matters to ensure Fox News maintains its commitment to having a work environment based on the values of trust and respect.”
Other news networks, including NBC News, have also terminated big-name talent after claims of sexual harassment and misconduct at their companies.
Mr. Murdoch sold the entertainment division of his company to Disney on Thursday as part of his mission of “returning to our roots” as a news and sports based company.
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