The Real Heirs To The Murdoch Empire Aren’t Exactly What You See In Bombshell

Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage.
The new movie Bombshell is out now, and it’s got that new, ripped-from-the-headlines smell. It tells the true story of network head Roger Ailes (John Lithgow, in the film) and the sexual misconduct he allegedly committed at Fox News, which is said to include belittling and harassing female employees. The film portrays a slew of real life Fox News personalities involved in the scandal, including Rupert Murdoch's sons, Lachlan and James.
The story goes that in 2016, former Fox journalist Gretchen Carlson (played in the movie by Nicole Kidman) was the first woman to claim that Ailes had harassed her — this opened a huge internal investigation, with mega network stars like Megyn Kelly (played in the film by Charlize Theron) coming out of the fold to talk about her experience with Ailes. In total, nearly two dozen women accused Ailes of some kind of sexual misconduct, and in July 2016, he was forced to resign from his post. He died in 2017 at the age of 77.
So, how was Ailes able to get away with his harassment? Rupert Murdoch (Malcolm McDowell in Bombshell), media mogul, friend, and boss of Ailes’, is included in Bombshell's semi-fictionalized blame game. The film also makes pseudo heroes of his real-life sons, Lachlan and James Murdoch (played in Bombshell by real-life brothers Josh and Ben Lawson) who eventually stepped into the push Ailes out. According to Time, billionaire brothers Lachlan and James Murdoch were certainly not fans of Ailes — Lachlan had a disagreement about Fox News with Ailes in 2005, and he left the company for his native Australia when his father sided with Ailes over him in the dispute. A decade later, Ailes became unhappy when, due to some corporate restructuring, Lachlan and James became his bosses instead of Rupert.
Per the New York Times, it seems like Lachlan and James are trying to distance themselves from the right-wing propaganda that their father’s company is known for, reportedly seeing that this is a new century and the old ways of Fox need to change. And while they may agree that Fox needs a new look, the brothers differ wildly in their opinions — James, according to The New Yorker, is a liberal with a liberal wife, Kathryn, who has donated to the 2020 presidential campaign of Pete Buttigieg. He’s not showy, and doesn't go out much. He is for voter rights and hopes to curb climate change — in direct opposition to the messages his father's Fox News pumps out daily.
Lachlan, on the other hand, is reportedly more like Rupert. He just bought a house for $150 million in Bel-Air, Los Angeles, and he’s the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox. He’s also okay with the content on Fox News, even though he was frustrated with his dad for taking Ailes side that one time. Lachlan is the one who has been hand-picked to lead the Murdoch clan into a new century, and James is the black sheep. It’s hard to feel bad for guys who are worth billions, but it just goes to show you that no matter who your family is, there will be drama.
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