Rupert Murdoch would like you to know that the string of accusations which revealed a history of sexual harassment and assault at Fox News were not the result of, say, women at the network being sick and tired of abuse. Instead, Murdoch said in an interview Thursday, the scandal at Fox News was “largely political.”
Murdoch’s comments show just how seriously (or not) he has taken the charges of sexual harassment occurring right under his nose.
“It’s all nonsense,” Murdoch said in an interview with Sky News—a network he currently owns a large chunk of—when asked whether the harassment charges had hurt Fox News’ business at all.
There was a problem with our chief executive, sort of over the years, but isolated incidents. As soon as we investigated he was out of the place in hours. Well, three or four days. And there’s been nothing else since then.
The “problem” Murdoch was referring to, of course, was former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes’ grotesque treatment of women working for him, which led to Ailes’ ignominious departure from the network he’d helped build. Ailes would die several months later.
Murdoch did not mention similar charges of sexual harassment leveled against several other major Fox News figures. These include network co-president Bill Shine, who was accused of aiding and abetting Ailes’ horrific behavior, as well as Bill O’Reilly—who secured a sexual harassment settlement for a jaw-dropping $32 million dollars just before his ouster from the company.
“There are really bad cases that people should be moved aside and there are other things, which probably amount to a bit of flirting,” Murdoch continued, alluding to the broader wave of sexual harassment and assault allegations that have been made in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.