Rupert Murdoch Called Fox News Sexual Harassment Allegations ‘All Nonsense,’ And Female Employees Fired Back

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Before men like Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer were accused of sexual harassment and assault, there was Roger Ailes, but Rupert Murdoch doesn’t think much of the accusations of sexual harassment that drove the Fox News chief from the company and which continue to spill out of Fox’s newsrooms. In fact, Murdoch described the “isolated incidents” of harassment at Fox “all nonsense” in a recent interview. And that dismissive attitude didn’t sit well with the women at Fox who have had to deal with everything from innuendo to intimidation and assault.

Murdoch spoke with Ian King of Sky News about the recent sale of several Fox properties to the Disney corporation. One of King’s questions was whether the turmoil at Fox News has had a detrimental effect on the conservative network. According to Murdoch, Fox’s sexual harassment problem hardly exists. He told King,

“All nonsense, there was a problem with our chief executive [Ailes], sort of, over the years, isolated incidents. As soon as we investigated it he was out of the place in hours, well, three or four days. And there’s been nothing else since then. That was largely political because we’re conservative. Now of course the liberals are going down the drain — NBC is in deep trouble. CBS, their stars. I mean there are really bad cases and people should be moved aside. There are other things which probably amount to a bit of flirting.”

Dozens of women at Fox are horrified by Murdoch’s assessment. “I have had to put up with a hostile work environment for years, and now I’m told that it doesn’t exist by a man who doesn’t have to walk these halls every day? I’m hungry for justice,” said an anonymous member of Fox’s on-air team. Others were quick to point out that Fox’s sexual harassment problem is still ongoing, and that every day the women of Fox News live through more #MeToo’s. One woman shot back, “How much will it take before you actually start caring about your female employees? Is your 52 billion enough? Are we really going to clean house now?”

A current anchor asked if Murdoch “just forget the 100 million dollars his company had to pay in settlements for terrible men behaving badly?” She also summed up the feeling shared by many of Fox’s female employees:

“Sexual harassment has nothing to do with politics. Many of us are conservative and want the truth to come out. Those of us who still work at Fox News have anxiety issues every time we see another woman coming forward with stories we have all lived through but have never shared.”

Several women have had no qualms about responding to Murdoch without the protection of anonymity. Gretchen Carlson took to Twitter to demand Murdoch negate the nondisclosure agreements many victims of harassment at Fox were required to sign as a settlement condition. Tamara Holder has publicly responded, too, describing a graphic assault she experienced at Fox. “That’s not ‘nonsense’,” she said. “That’s criminal.”

UPDATE: 21st Century Fox provided a statement on Murdoch’s comments:

“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. 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.”

(Via The Huffington Post)