Two women who helped bring down Bill O’Reilly at Fox News are in London to state their case to British media regulator Ofcom as 21st Century Fox attempts to take over United Kingdom pay TV giant Sky.
Fox bid $14.4 billion for all of Sky, of which it already owns a 39 percent stake, but Attorney Lisa Bloom and O’Reilly accuser Wendy Walsh want to make sure Ofcom is aware of the culture they believe existed at Fox News Channel, according to Reuters. Ofcom is investigating whether of not Fox would be a “fit and proper” owner of Sky.
The deal was cleared by the European Commission last month but remains a sensitive subject after a previous attempt in 2011 was blocked by a phone hacking scandal at one of the Murdoch family’s British newspapers. The scandal revealed close ties between politicians, police and the employees of the paper.
“My client Wendy Walsh and I came to London to meet with Ofcom because we want the British regulator to understand the corporate governance failures at that company. We both very strongly believe that Fox should not be allowed to take full ownership of Sky,” Bloom said outside the regulator’s office, according to HuffPost.
Bloom continued: “In the meeting that just ended, I told Ofcom about the epidemic of sexual harassment and retaliation and allegations of racism rampant inside the Murdoch media empire.”
21st Century Fox issued a statement obtained by TheWrap which touted the company’s “clear commitment to providing a positive, safe and inclusive workplace free of harassment and discrimination.” The statement also emphasized Fox News’ diverse work environment and the recent promotions of two women to top executive positions. (Read the entire statement below.)
Walsh is one of numerous women who have come forward with sexual harassment allegations against either Fox News’ former star, O’Reilly, or former CEO Roger Ailes. Both men deny all allegations against them but are no longer with the network as a result of the claims. Ailes stepped down in disgrace last year after Gretchen Carlson came forward with claims that resulted in a variety of women speaking out with similar claims.
Last week, Fox News Channel co-president Bill Shine stepped down amid ongoing sexual harassment allegations involving top executives and on-air talent. Shine, a protégé of ousted network founder Roger Ailes, had been with Fox News for 20 years. Shine has not been accused of sexual harassment himself, but he has been named in several lawsuits for allegations related to harassment or racial discrimination at the network for his knowledge of indiscretions and alleged involvement in punishing those filed complaints.
The following is the entire statement issued by 21st Century Fox:
21st Century Fox’s actions demonstrate its clear commitment to providing a positive, safe and inclusive workplace free of harassment and discrimination. The company’s management has taken prompt and decisive action to address reports of sexual harassment and workplace issues at Fox News. These actions have led to an overhaul of Fox News Channel’s leadership, management and reporting structure, and have driven fundamental changes to the channel’s on-air talent and primetime programming lineup. In assessing and transforming the leadership team at Fox News, the Company has been focused on its long held commitment to a diverse workplace that promotes racial and gender equality, elevating Suzanne Scott to the post of President of Programming; along with the hiring of a new CFO, Amy Listerman, to lead the financial operations at the Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. This newly instituted leadership structure at Fox News brings it closer in line with the wider practices at 21CF, where women serve as the Chair and CEOs of its Fox film studio as well as its Fox television studio and the Fox television network.