I suspect that Rupert Murdoch wasn't thinking very carefully, nor had he conferred with legal counsel, when he gave that interview to Sky News in which pooh-poohed the sexual harassment charges that have come out of Fox News HQ as "nonsense" and politically motivated. But former Fox legal analyst Tamara Holder heard those words and felt released from the Non Disclosure Agreement she was forced to sign.
And boy, she didn't hold back, shredding Murdoch for lying and minimizing something that has significantly more than nonsense. "Fox News ruined people's lives. He ruined my life. I don't have a job in TV anymore because the place that he has secured down like Ft. Knox allowed abusive predators to work. That is not nonsense."
Murdoch's minimizations actually defy what's already publicly known. It wasn't just Roger Ailes (Bill O'Reilly and Eric Bolling were also fired for sexual inappropriate behavior--we don't know if there were others protected by other NDAs); it didn't take only days to deal with Ailes (Gretchen Carlson filed suit against him in July 6, 2016, Ailes resigned on July 21, 2016, but Gabriel Sherman had reported claims against Ailes as early as 2014. Andrea Makris' suit against Bill O'Reilly was in 2004, and O'Reilly enjoyed a continued tenure at Fox News until 2017). And that's where Holder makes the most direct blow right where it hurts Murdoch--investor relations: "Either Mr. Murdoch is a liar or he's delusional and old and needs to get out. If you're an investor, you need to decide, do you want your money with a man who has continued to lie to you for the past 20 years? Your money, hundreds of millions of dollars of your money has gone to women over and over and over again." Hundreds of millions of dollars going to female employees whom Fox News has not protected from really vile behavior. I don't know about you, but I'd be upset about investing in Fox knowing that it's being run this way.
Journalist Yashar Ali (whom Holder thanks at the beginning of this segment) has been covering this story all year, and had this update on Twitter in response to Holder's segment, essentially confirming all of what Holder speaks to:
This is a whole new ballgame in a post-Weinstein world, and I'm not entirely surprised that Rupert Murdoch hasn't acclimated to it, though that's no excuse. But he's not alone. I've seen comments here on C&L of men complaining that speaking to women will result in sexual harassment charges, or of high profile men like Matt Damon, trying to mitigate and assess levels of inappropriate behavior to decide whether women have a right to complain.
To that, I will let actress Minnie Driver explain why that's not helpful:
“That’s a problem,” Driver continued. “If good men like Matt Damon are thinking like that then we’re in a lot of fucking trouble. We need good intelligent men to say this is all bad across the board, condemn it all and start again.”
Driver argued that men should not be granted the power to interpret abuse inflicted on women without the risk of redoubling an injustice they can scarcely understand.
“I felt that what Matt Damon was saying was an Orwellian idea, we are all equal except that some us are more equal than others,” she said. “Put abuse in there … that all abuse is equal but some is worse.”
She added: “There is no hierarchy of abuse – that if a woman is raped [it] is much worse than if woman has a penis exposed to her that she didn’t want or ask for … you cannot tell those women that one is supposed to feel worse than the other.
“And it certainly can’t be prescribed by a man. The idea of tone deafness is the idea there [is] no equivalency.
“How about: it’s all fucking wrong and it’s all bad, and until you start seeing it under one umbrella it’s not your job to compartmentalise or judge what is worse and what is not. Let women do the speaking up right now. The time right now is for men just to listen and not have an opinion about it for once.”