Fox’s James Murdoch slams Trump for weak response to Charlottesville

18 Aug 2017


James Murdoch, chief executive of 21st Century Fox and son of conservative media magnate Rupert Murdoch, had harsh words about President Donald Trump's failure to unequivocally condemn hate groups in the wake of a deadly terror attack by a white supremacist in Charlottesville, Va.

In an email to friends obtained by sections of the media and confirmed as authentic by a spokesman for Murdoch's company, the Fox scion said Trump's tepid reaction should "concern all of us as Americans and free people".

He also pledged to donate $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish organization that fights anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.

''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," Murdoch wrote. "Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so."

Trump was roundly criticized by leaders, celebrities, and others across the political spectrum for his initial failure to call out white supremacist, neo-Nazi, KKK and other hate groups for their role in the violence, instead blaming it on actors from "many sides".

While the president eventually bowed to pressure and condemned racism, he later reverted to his initial insistence that "both sides" were to blame, arguing that some of the white nationalist protesters in Virginia were "fine people".

Murdoch's comments stand out among those of Trump's other detractors because the Fox News network, which is a part of 21st Century Fox, has shown more sympathy to the Trump White House than other major outlets, and the president often praises its coverage.

His father Rupert Murdoch is a conservative media mogul who has become an informal adviser to Trump, recently dining with the president in the White House residence. The younger Murdoch has been less outspoken about his political views, making the email even more surprising.

With a subject line reading, ''Subject: Personal note from James Murdoch re: ADL,'' Murdoch said in his note to addressed to ''friends'':

''I'm writing to you in a personal capacity, as a concerned citizen and a father. It has not been my habit to widely offer running commentary on current affairs, nor to presume to weigh in on the events of a given day save those that might be of particular or specific concern to 21CF and my colleagues.

''But what we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction to it by the President of the United States concerns all of us as Americans and free people.''

He added, ''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.''

Murdoch said that he and his wife, Kathryn, plan to donate $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League, urging others to follow suit.

''We hardly ever talk about our charitable giving, but in this case I wanted to tell you and encourage you to be generous too. Many of you are supporters of the Anti-Defamation League already - now is a great time to give more,'' he wrote.

The Anti-Defamation League has been outspoken against Trump since early in his campaign, including tracking an uptick in white supremacists supporting him as he declined repeatedly to forcefully denounce them or disavow their support.

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