Fox harassment claims create clouds around Sky takeover bid

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Rupert Murdoch is executive chairman of 21st Century Fox and News Corp.

The sexual harassment scandal that has enveloped Fox News is now posing a threat to the parent company 21st Century Fox's deal to take full ownership of the European satellite TV service Sky.

A spokesman for 21st Century Fox spokesman said management had taken decisive action to address reports of sexual harassment and workplace issues at Fox News.

Columnist Kelvin MacKenzie will leave British tabloid The Sun after making racially charged comments about a star football player, according to the Financial Times.

Outside the Fox News building, I asked him if he was anxious about whether Ofcom would take a close interest in what's happening at his cable news network as it made its decision.

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Douglas Wigdor, a New York City lawyer who represents 20 current and former Fox News employees who are suing the network for alleged racial and sexual bias, said last week that he had been invited to meet with Ofcom officials on Thursday.

Wendy Walsh, a psychologist and former regular guest on Fox's The O'Reilly Factor show, said the takeover would allow Fox to bring a "culture of sexual and racial harassment" to the UK.

Apart, then, from the departures of Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly, and Bill Shine, the federal investigation, an internal investigation, dozens of claims of sexual or racial harassment, an advertising boycott following the New York Times's brilliant investigation into O'Reilly, and a month of awful headlines, I suppose it is true to say that "nothing's happening at Fox News".

Among total day viewers, Fox News also finished No. 1 for the tenth straight month, averaging 1.5 million viewers compared to 1.1 million for second place Nickelodeon. "The role of the media has always been to be the Fourth Estate, the watchdog on government and greedy corporations".

Ms Bloom told reporters there was an "epidemic of sexual harassment and retaliation and allegations of racism rampant inside the Murdoch media empire in the US", which she described as "phone-hacking part two".

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Wigdor, who is admitted to practice law in the United Kingdom, has claimed that Fox "lacks proper internal controls".

"These actions have led to an overhaul of Fox News Channel's leadership, management and reporting structure, and have driven fundamental changes to the channel's on-air talent and primetime programming lineup".

"People are fanning the flames and the smoke signals are rising, but it's got to be more than a group of people aggrieved by their workplace environment", Enders said.

Walsh is unapologetic. She believes she is in a unique position to speak out.

"I think it's very important that we realize that people are typically innocent until proven guilty so every allegation that's made around 21st Century Fox is not, in fact, fact", she said.

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Even if all that is true - and of course there are many who say it is rubbish - the man at the top was not on message when I spoke to him as he left work, doubtless to the annoyance of those trying to maintain message discipline on this ever-spreading scandal.