×

Opponents of Fox-Sky Deal Speak Out at Houses of Parliament

A public meeting held at the British Parliament on Monday heard former opposition leader Ed Miliband demand that 21st Century Fox’s proposed takeover of Sky be blocked because of a catalog of alleged wrongdoing at Fox News and other Murdoch-owned news outlets. Miliband, answering a question from Variety, also dismissed as “blackmail” a warning from Sky that it might shut down Sky News if the takeover deal is thwarted.

Former and current employees of Fox News, Roger Ailes’ former protégé, and a lawyer representing a host of clients with grievances against the network gathered in London to detail their experiences of working for and against Fox. The public meeting, chaired by former Labour Party leader and vocal Murdoch critic Miliband, took place inside the Palace of Westminster and came as the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority continues its in-depth review of Fox’s proposed $15 billion takeover of Sky.

Fox was not officially represented at the meeting, and has denied many of the allegations made by speakers at the gathering, who included current Fox News anchor Kelly Wright, former Fox News Radio correspondent Jennifer Golloher, former Ailes associate Joe Lindsley and high-profile lawyer Douglas Wigdor.

Wright, fresh from speaking to the Competition and Markets Authority, talked about the alleged discrimination he endured and Fox News’ alleged attempts to play down positive news from the African American community. Wright is suing the company for racial discrimination. Golloher, speaking publicly on the matter for the first time, and Lindlsley also gave damning accounts of their experiences at Fox News and with Ailes.

Although the event mostly covered the activities of Fox News in the U.S., Miliband said the speakers’ stories had a direct bearing on whether the Murdoch family would be fit and proper owners of Sky. He said that “a drive for commercial success overwhelms a commitment to decent, ethical standards” at Murdoch-owned companies. “That is the pattern that comes through from all of the different testimonies that we’ve heard: What matters above all is the bottom line and what doesn’t matter is the rules or even the laws.”

Miliband also attempted to draw a through-line with Fox’s governance and the U.K.’s 2011 phone-hacking scandal. He said that a new corporate governance code Fox instituted in 2012 had not changed anything. “The same pattern of misbehavior and wrongdoing was repeated,” Miliband said.

The CMA’s probe into the Fox-Sky deal is still underway. The takeover has been approved by European Union authorities and in the other countries in which Sky operates, but has met with strong resistance in the U.K., where politicians and pressure groups such as Avaaz have sought to derail the bid.

Fox chief James Murdoch has previously said the company remains confident a deal will proceed. “Obviously we were disappointed” by the government’s decision to call in the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority to examine the $15 billion takeover bid, Murdoch said in September. “But we’re also looking forward to engaging with the CMA….We’re confident that it goes through.”

More TV

  • 'Americans,' 'Versace,' 'Dannemora' Lead Critics' Choice

    'Americans,' 'Gianni Versace,' 'Escape at Dannemora' Lead Critics' Choice Awards TV Nominations

    FX’s “The Americans” and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” along with Showtime’s “Escape at Dannemora,” led the Broadcast Television Journalists Assn.’s nominations for the 24th annual Critics’ Choice Awards, it was revealed Monday. Joining “The Americans” in the best drama series category was “Better Call Saul” (AMC), “The Good Fight” (CBS All [...]

  • Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard

    New 'Star Trek' Series to Shoot in California, Selected for Tax Credit

    CBS’s new “Star Trek” series, with Patrick Stewart reprising the role of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, will shoot in California and receive a $15.6 million production tax credit. The California Film Commission announced Monday that the untitled “Star Trek” series and eight other TV series have been selected for the latest tax credit allocations totaling $90 [...]

  • The Netflix logo is displayed at

    Netflix Orders 'Queen Sono,' Its First African Original Series

    Netflix has ordered its first African original series, “Queen Sono,” a drama about a secret agent who fights crime while dealing with crises in her personal life. The series will launch globally in 2019. “Queen Sono” stars veteran South African actress Pearl Thusi, who tweeted in an emotional video Monday that she “cannot wait for…every woman on [...]

  • Outlander 406

    'Outlander' Recap: Jamie Encounters William Again in 'Blood of My Blood'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Blood Of My Blood,” the sixth episode of “Outlander” Season 4. The action in “Blood of My Blood” picked up almost immediately after the previous week’s episode, as evidenced by the fact that Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) was still staying with Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and [...]

  • The Flash -- "Elseworlds, Part 1"

    'Elseworlds, Part 1' Recap: Barry Allen and Oliver Queen Swap Skills, Visit Superman

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Elseworlds, Part 1,” the first part of the 2018 “Arrowverse” crossover, which aired Dec. 9. After past crossovers that introduced beloved characters’ doppelgangers, a wedding and death, “Elseworlds,” the fifth annual “Arrowverse” event, had a lot to which to live up. Unlike previous years, [...]

  • Stranger Things

    'Stranger Things' Season 3 Teaser Reveals Episode Titles, 2019 Release

    Netflix dropped a new teaser for the upcoming third season of “Stranger Things” Sunday, confirming that it will land on the streamer in 2019. The teaser also revealed the episode titles for the third season, which are as follows: “Suzie, Do You Copy?,” “The Mall Rats,” “The Case of the Missing Lifeguard,” “The Sauna Test,” [...]

  • Kyzza Terrazas Joins Garcia Bernal, Diego

    Kyzza Terrazas Joins Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna’s La Corriente del Golfo (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Launching their new production house, La Corriente de Golfo, last April, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna have tapped Mexican writer-director Kyzza Terrazas as the company’s head of development. The appointment will certainly help build the company appointing an old-rounder capable of overseeing and implementing development, writing and directing, and a longtime [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content