Rupert Murdoch is a lot of things, but a wallflower isn’t one of them.
So I was somewhat amused to see a lawsuit accusing News Corp. of nepotism for its deal to buy daughter Elisabeth Murdoch’s company for $675 million.
Given that most of Murdoch’s grown kids have worked for the company — and all that’s currently preventing the younger ones from being named exec VPs are child labor laws — it’s hardly a mystery or a closely guarded secret that the elder Murdoch sees News Corp. as his personal empire, with plans to pass the keys on to an heir.
Sure, one can argue about the valuation on Shine, but it is a serious company with signifcant assets. And one suspects Murdoch sees Elisabeth — who famously championed “American Idol” in its infancy — as having potential worth within the corporate fold. (Although she downplayed her role regarding “Idol” in a 2008 New York Times interview, Murdoch did acknowledge telling her dad, “You have got to buy it,” an order he relayed to subordinates.)
Still, the suit argues, “In addition to larding the executive ranks of the company with his offspring, Murdoch constantly engages in transactions designed to benefit family members,” using the company as a “wholly owned family candy store.”
Frankly, if we sued every Hollywood company guilty of nepotism (or “nephewtism,” as I’ve been told Jimmy Durante liked to call it), the courts would be so clogged up that the wheels of justice would grind to a screeching halt.
But I do have a solution for all this: Leave everything to me! I promise to rule as a benevolent despot on the Murdoch children’s behalf. Sort of like Peter Chernin before he left.