Rupert Murdoch’s son James resigns from News Corp over editorial ‘disagreements’
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Rupert Murdoch’s son James has resigned from the board of News Corp, citing “disagreements over certain editorial content” published through the media empire’s news outlets.
According to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), James Murdoch informed the company he was resigning from the Board of Directors with immediate effect on Friday.
In his resignation letter Mr Murdoch wrote: “Ladies and Gentlemen: I hereby tender my resignation as a member of the Board of Directors of News Corporation (the “Company”), effective as of the date hereof.
“My resignation is due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the Company’s news outlets and certain other strategic decisions.”
The nature of the disagreements or the news outlets in question were not disclosed.
News Corps owns titles includes The Sun, The Times, Harper Collins, New York Post and Dow Jones (AFP via Getty Images)
Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corporation, and his other son Lachlan, co-chairman, issued a joint statement on Friday.
The pair said: “We’re grateful to James for his many years of service to the company. We wish him the very best in his future endeavours.”
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation covers media outlets across the globe including The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times – as well as Harper Collins Publishers in the UK.
James Murdoch with his wife Kathryn Hufschmid (REUTERS)
News Corporation also owns the New York Post in the US and the Dow Jones brand, which includes financial brand the Wall Street Journal.
The Australian arm of the company further owns a number of local and national papers and broadcasters.
Outside of News Corporation, the 89-year-old media mogul also owns 20th Century Fox and the Fox network, including Fox News.
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The resignation from News Corporation is the latest example of the political divide in the famed media family.
While the nature of the disagreements and the news outlets in question were not disclosed, the resignation follows a number of similar moves in recent years.
Mr Murdoch was thrust into the public limelight in 2011 when the then-Sky chairman fronted a Commons Culture Media and Sport Committee alongside his father over the News of the World phone hacking scandal.
The fallout from the scandal ultimately forced him to resign from the role in April 2012, with media watchdog Ofcom finding he “repeatedly fell short of the conduct to be expected of him as a chief executive officer and chairman”.
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Despite being tainted by the events, Mr Murdoch eventually returned to the role four years later.
James Murdoch, who currently heads private investment firm Lupa Systems, is known as the more liberal member of the Murdoch family, while his more conservative older brother Lachlan is the heir apparent to the media empire.
Lachlan Murdoch is also the chief executive of Fox Corporation, the home of conservative US news network Fox News.
In 2016, when he was serving as chief executive of 21st Century Fox, James Murdoch championed the success of the network, saying there was “no desire to shift the position it has in the market”.
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However following his exit from the company in 2019, he openly distanced himself from Fox News, telling The New Yorker: “There are views I really disagree with on Fox.”
That same year Mr Murdoch donated to Pete Buttigieg’s campaign to become the Democratic nominee for US president.
Mr Murdoch’s recent political actions have also stood in stark contrast to his father and brother.
In June, he donated 615,000 US dollars (£467,400) to presidential candidate Joe Biden’s victory fund.
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His wife Kathryn, who previously worked for Bill Clinton’s environmental charity Clinton Climate Initiative, donated the same amount.
His opposition to the direction of News Corporation’s coverage came to a head in January, when he took direct issue with how the company had covered climate change and its impact on the bushfires in Australia.
A spokesperson for Mr Murdoch and his wife Kathryn told The Daily Beast: “Kathryn and James’ views on climate change are well established and their frustration with some of News Corp and Fox’s coverage of the topic is also well known.
“They are particularly disappointed with the ongoing denial of the role of climate change among the news outlets in Australia, given obvious evidence to the contrary.”
Mr Murdoch’s decision to sever his last formal link to the family business brings to an end what has been an extensive and turbulent career in the industry.