News Corp.'s board of directors is standing behind Rupert Murdoch in the wake of a blistering report from a U.K. parliamentary committee that concluded he was "not a fit person" to lead the media empire.
The board said that it was releasing a unanimous statement of support for the company's founder after the committee concluded that Murdoch and other executives had exhibited "willful blindness" regarding phone hacking and bribery at the now-shuttered News of the World.
After meeting Wednesday and issuing a vote of confidence for Murdoch, the directors took aim at the committee's remarks about Murdoch's fitness.
"The Board of Directors of News Corporation met today and announced its full confidence in Rupert Murdoch’s fitness and support for his continuing to lead News Corporation into the future as its Chairman and CEO," the board said in a statement.
The board said it based its vote of confidence on Murdoch’s vision and leadership in building the company, performance as chairman and CEO and his stated commitment to addressing the mistakes made at the U.K. tabloid.
Although the report carried no formal punishment, legal experts told TheWrap that it may spur fresh lawsuits centered on hacking and trigger challenges to the company's television licensing renewals.
In the wake of its release, watchdog groups such as the Free Press Action Fund have intensified their calls for a congressional investigation into News Corp. and Murdoch.
For its part, News Corp. has acknowledged that wrongdoing took place at News of the World but has labelled the report as "highly partisan." In a statement Tuesday, the company noted that the committee was divided along party lines. Lawmakers from Britain's Conservative party were reportedly unhappy over the conclusions about Murdoch's fitness to lead.