James Murdoch criticises Donald Trump over Charlottesville

21st Century Fox boss says US president’s reaction to neo-Nazi violence ‘concerns all of us’

President Donald Trump on Tuesday (August 15th) said both sides were to blame in the clashes in Virginia over the weekend.


James Murdoch – chief executive of 21st Century Fox and son of Donald Trump ally Rupert Murdoch – has become one of the most prominent voices yet to condemn the US president’s response to neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville.

In a memo to colleagues obtained by the Hollywood Reporter, Mr Murdoch pledged to donate $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League, which works to combat anti-Semitism.

Rupert Murdoch is known to speak regularly to the US president and 21st Century Fox is the parent company of Fox News, which is a regular cheerleader for Mr Trump.

“[W]hat 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,” James Murdoch (44), writes in the memo.

“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.”

Mr Murdoch adds: “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.”

Scandal after scandal

He goes on to say that he and his wife, Kathryn, are donating $1 million (€850,000) to the Anti-Defamation League in the wake of the tragedy, which left one civil rights activist dead.

Business leaders have been abandoning Mr Trump since his bellicose press conference when he blamed Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville on “both sides” and claimed that among the white supremacists involved there were “very fine people”.

On Thursday it emerged that the presidential advisory council on infrastructure will disband along with two panels that Mr Trump hastily scrapped on Wednesday when faced with mass resignations. Some senior Republicans, including Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, have also turned against him.

The relationship between Mr Trump (71) and 86-year-old Rupert Murdoch, the current chairman and acting CEO of Fox News, goes back decades. Earlier this year the Australian-born media mogul was ranked highest in a New York Times list of Mr Trump’s top advisers outside the White House, someone the president speaks to “on the phone every week”.

Fox News has remained loyal to Mr Trump through scandal after scandal, although even some of its hosts have spoken out over the Charlottesville fallout. The network has been rocked by a slew of sexual misconduct lawsuits against various presenters and executives. It also ran a fabricated a story about the circumstances surrounding the death of Democratic party aide Seth Rich.

Guardian service