The CEO of Fox and son of Rupert Murdoch stands up to the president.
Following his failure to condemn the violence perpetrated against protesters in Charlottesville, Donald Trump appears to have lost another ally in the media and business world. James Murdoch — CEO of 21st Century Fox and son of famed media conservative media icon Rupert Murdoch — made clear in an email that he objects to the president’s response to the Charlottesville atrocities.
In an email to “friends,” obtained and authenticated by The New York Times, James Murdoch took an exasperated tone as he weighed in on both the events and President Trump’s failure to act appropriately in response. He ends with a paragraph offering perhaps the boldest statement in the missive — he and his wife Kathryn will be donating $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League to continue the fight against hate.
Subject: Personal note from James Murdoch re: ADL
I’m writing to you in a personal capacity, as a concerned citizen and a father. It has not been my habit to widely offer running commentary on current affairs, nor to presume to weigh in on the events of a given day save those that might be of particular or specific concern to 21CF and my colleagues. But what we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction to it by the President of the United States concern all of us as Americans and free people.
These events remind us all why vigilance against hate and bigotry is an eternal obligation — a necessary discipline for the preservation of our way of life and our ideals. The presence of hate in our society was appallingly laid bare as we watched swastikas brandished on the streets of Charlottesville and acts of brutal terrorism and violence perpetrated by a racist mob. I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so.
Diverse storytellers, and stories, can make a difference, and that diversity, around the world, is a crucial strength and an animating force in my business. Often times not everyone agrees with the stories and positions that emerge from this, and that can be difficult. Certainly no company can be perfect. But I’m proud of the powerful art that can emerge, and I’m grateful to all of my colleagues who make this happen. From the potent and compelling narrative of “12 Years a Slave”, to the streets of Pakistan and the bravery of an extraordinary young woman that we saw in “He Named Me Malala”, to name just a few, we’ve never been afraid to help storytellers and artists say important things – hard things, too.
To further demonstrate our commitment, Kathryn and I are donating 1 million dollars to the Anti-Defamation League, and I encourage you to give what you think is right as well. We hardly ever talk about our charitable giving, but in this case I wanted to tell you and encourage you to be generous too. Many of you are supporters of the Anti-Defamation League already – now is a great time to give more. The ADL is an extraordinary force for vigilance and strength in the face of bigotry – you can learn more here: https://www.adl.org. My very best to you and with all my gratitude,
While Trump has demonstrated no reservations in alienating and frustrating the public at large, the fallout from his inaction on the Charlottesville violence has caused an exodus of business and financially minded leaders from his administration. He reactively dissolved the Strategic and Policy Forum and the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative when members fled from any White House involvement.
On Wednesday, Apple head Tim Cook circulated a company-wide email condemning both the actors in Charlottesville and President Trump’s dismissal of their behavior, also making a corporate pledge of $1 million to the ADL and $1 million to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
However, James Murdoch’s strong rebuke could demonstrate the loss of what Trump may have considered a steadfast ally in the media. The transparency of the email and the status of the person in question would suggest this is something that Fox News is unable or — perhaps more accurately — unwilling to spin in the president’s favor. Whether Trump will tempt fate by responding remains to be seen, but if a person was looking for the limits to which Fox would tolerate Trump’s behavior, they may have just found it.