The chief executive officer of 21st Century Fox James Murdoch has taken a defensive stance towards the allegations that have been brought forward about how the company handles sexual harassment claims. In defense for his company, Mr. Murdoch said that he only got to know the size of settlement made by Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly when it was reported in the news. The story was first reported by the New York Times one week ago meaning that this is the first time that the chief executive officer has spoken about the issue. Over the weekend, the Times was able to reveal that Mr. O’Reilly was able to settle a sexual harassment case for $32 million. The Times also reported that the same person had settled similar claims for a total of six times. The chief executive said that it was news to him when he saw the number in the news. He further emphasized that the settlement was not a company settlement but an individual settlement. The CEO was speaking at a conference that had been organized in New York known as the Paley International Council Summit. He further told the Times that at times people have to learn to work with what they know. He commended the Times for doing a thorough investigation and doing a go job. At the end of the day, the executive said that it falls to making the right decision.
When asked whether the company was aware of the sexual claims against Mr. O’Reilly, 21st Century confirmed that it was aware of the sexual harassment claims that included sending of explicit material, a nonconsensual sexual relationship as well as harassment. The chief executive was asked whether the company knew that hiring a person with a sexual harassment record would pose threats to the company especially in creating a good culture. He said that people should judge the company by the way that it handles the present claims. He said that as an executive, it very hard to determine whether a person will react badly. What executives can do is react to the accusations that someone might have messed up. He gave an example of how the company responded to sexual harassment claims against Roger Ailes. Once it emerged that the founding chairman had sexually harassed a woman, he was kicked out of the company. Mr. O’Reilly, on the other hand, was fired last April when accusations persisted.