21st Century Fox on Saturday sought to tamp down a growing furor over Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch’s comments that downplayed the magnitude of the sexual harassment scandal that has roiled Fox News for the past 18 months.
During a interview Thursday with Sky News to discuss the Murdoch family’s sale of most of Fox to Walt Disney Co., British journalist Ian King asked Murdoch how harmful sexual harassment allegations at Fox News had been to the business of the parent company — and whether the scandal had stalled Fox’s campaign to gain full control of the Sky pay-TV service.
‘It’s all nonsense,” the 86-year-old mogul said during the interview. “There was a problem with our chief executive [Roger Ailes] over the years, isolated incidents. As soon as we investigated, he was out of the place in hours … well, three or four days. And there has been nothing else since then.”
But there have been more allegations and firings since then, including the ouster of star commentator Bill O’Reilly as well as afternoon show host Eric Bolling, who was fired last summer after allegedly sending lewd photographs and text messages to female colleagues.
Murdoch suggested that Fox News had been the target of such allegations because of its conservative leanings.
“That was largely political because we are conservative,” Murdoch said during the interview, but then he appeared to recognize a potential inconsistency, adding: “But the liberals are going down the drain. NBC is in deep trouble.”