James Murdoch does not watch Fox News, refuses to watch Succession

Former Fox CEO James Murdoch reveals he does NOT watch Fox News, is ‘disappointed’ Shep Smith left the network and backs Mayor Pete Buttigieg for president – as he flashes his bizarre forearm tattoo

  • James Murdoch said that he does not watch Fox News and will never watch Succession during an interview on Wednesday at the Vanity Fair Summit 
  • ‘There are some shows you just know you’re never going to watch,’ explained James to moderator Radhika Jones when asked about Succession 
  • He said that he was ‘disappointed’ to see Shepard Smith leave the network earlier this month, but noted that he left on his own accord
  • James became $2 billion richer thanks to his shares in the company when Fox sold off assets to Disney earlier this year
  • The former 21st Century Fox CEO showed off his bizarre arm tattoo at the event, which is meant to be a light bulb but looks more like a faded ink drawing of a sun
  • James wore a $475 shirt from Loro Pianna, khakis and a pair of Adidas Superstars  with a pink and blue stripes

James Murdoch opened up about his old job, his new job, his family, friends, co-workers and politicians in a rare and lengthy appearance at the annual Vanity Fair Summit in California on Wednesday.

He also spoke about his television viewing habits these days, and right off the bat addressed the elephant in the room by telling the audience he has not seen Succession, the show that is loosely based on his family’s media empire.

‘There are some shows you just know you’re never going to watch,’ explained James to moderator Radhika Jones, the magazine’s editor.

He was far more blunt however later in the program when asked if he ever watched Fox News these days.

‘No,’ replied James.  

He did later note however that he was ‘disappointed’ to see Shep Smith leave the network earlier this month after a very public feud with fellow Fox News host Tucker Carlson. 

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Breaking his silence: James Murdoch (above on Wednesday) said that he does not watch Fox News and will never watch Succession during an interview on Wednesday at the Vanity Fair Summit

Murdoch Inc: James became $2 billion richer thanks to his shares in the company when Fox sold off assets to Disney earlier this year (James and Lachlan with father Rupert in 2016) 

Murdoch also cleared up a few misconceptions that people have about him during his appearance on Wednesday.

First, he addressed the reports that he left the family company only after learning he would not replace Bob Iger as CEO of Disney.

‘It was sort of moot—I took myself out of any consideration for a role there,’ said James when asked about his split from the company.

This point was also ‘sort of moot’ on account of the fact that Iger did not want James succeeding him at the company. 

The younger of Rupert Murdoch’s two sons found himself out of work when Fox merged with Disney earlier this year, but also $2 billion richer thanks to his shares in the company.

This seems to have caused some friction between father and son however, and when asked if he had recently spoken to his former boss in an interview with the New Yorker earlier this year, Murdoch said: ‘There are periods of time when we do not.’ 

He did note though that things were great post-Fox, saying: ‘I just feel very lucky to have the opportunity at this point to make a clean break, and literally have an empty slate.’

James is now using his vast wealth towards growing his private-investment company Lupa Systems as well as the charitable foundation he runs with his wife Kathryn.

Quadrivium is a non-profit that has made donations to organizations looking to safeguard voting rights and increase voter turnout.

His is also backing Center for New American Security, a bipartisan think tank that aims ‘to craft effective, practical, actionable, and ambitious policies domestically and abroad,’ in a bid to protect democracy.  

James is also getting political, and has very publicly thrown his support behind Mayor Pete Buttigeig, whose campaign he donated to soon after he entered the race. 

On Wednesday, he was asked about his political leanings and who he supported in the upcoming race.

‘Oh golly,’ said James, who took some time to think before taking a swipe at some of the older candidates in the Democratic primary.  

‘It’s surprising to me that so much attention has been put on leaders of a generation that have been in power for a long period of time while a lot of these solutions haven’t been reached,’ opined James.

He then grew animated as he spoke about Mayor Pete, the openly gay veteran who has recently found a second wind in the primary. 

‘Mayor Buttigieg has the composure, character, thoughtfulness, courage to handle some of the hardest challenges that we have,’ James told the audience on Wednesday. 

‘My wife and I have been very enthusiastic about his leadership.’

Style star: James wore a $475 shirt from Loro Pianna, khakis and a pair of Adidas Superstars with a pink and blue stripes

Black hole sun: The former 21st Century Fox CEO showed off his bizarre arm tattoo (above) at the event, which is meant to be a light bulb but looks more like a faded ink drawing of a sun

The 46-year-old has not been resting on his laurels since he walked away from the family business, and just last month purchased a controlling stake in the company that produces the Tribeca Film Festival.

The move means that he will now be partnering with Hollywood actor Robert De Niro and his producing partner Jane Rosenthal, two of Hollywood’s most vocal liberal voices.

Murdoch’s Lupa Systems bought its stake in Tribeca Enterprises from The Madison Square Garden Company, festival co-founder Craig Hatkoff, and other investors.

‘We are excited about working with Jane and Bob to help grow the unique Tribeca brand,’ said Murdoch at the time.

‘When Tribeca was founded after 9/11, they brought together a tremendous creative community to embark on mission-driven business with civic impact and support for storytellers at its core. It is a real privilege to partner with this talented team to enhance and grow that mission.’

Lupa is the private investment company founded by James in March.

Rupert designed his companies to benefit his family, making certain that he and his children always had control, meaning that his children and generations to follow would be taken care of financially.

The 88-year-old mogul was able to show that plan in work earlier this year, when upon the sale of Fox’s film and television assets to Disney, each of his six children pocketed approximately $2 billion.

One thing Rupert has not left his children with however is a plan for the future of his media empire, refusing to officially name an heir despite making no secret of his preferred child.

It is not his oldest child Prudence or the next in line Elisabeth, who has found incredible success outside the family business in emerging media markets.

It is not James, the son who has stood by his side for decades and weathered the fallout from the 2011 hacking scandal at News of the World and the 2016 sexual assault scandal at Fox News.

It is Lachlan, Murdoch’s older son, who is the ‘golden child’ according to multiple sources.

And the empire looks to be his for the taking – but it is not clear if he is interested in the job.

The family company and its future were the focus of a New York Times piece this year that provided an in depth look at the mogul’s two sons while completely ignoring the lives and accomplishments of his four daughters.

Shep-wreck: He said that he was ‘disappointed’ to see Shepard Smith leave the network earlier this month, but noted that he left on his own accord

Political pal: James is also getting political, and has very publicly thrown his support behind Mayor Pete Buttigeig

By some accounts, Murdoch’s heirs are now battling behind the scenes for control of the empire, with the two top contenders appearing to be his sons James and Lachlan.

The brothers have had a tumultuous relationship over the years which had become more frayed than ever of recent after Lachlan was promoted over his younger brother by their father, despite James’ loyalty to the family company.

Others claim however that most of the children have soured on the notion of taking over from their father. 

The media mogul is the father of six children, who range in age from 61 to 16.

The oldest is Prudence, who is Murdoch’s only child with his first wife, Australian model Patricia Booker.

She has held various positions in her father’s companies but now lives in Australia where she is largely focused on raising her three children.

Prue, as she is called by her family, has made it clear that she is not interested in taking the reins and did not even attend college after graduating from Dalton in New York.

That does not mean she would oppose seeing her second husband, Alasdair MacLeod, move up the ranks at News Corp – despite her protests about him working with her dad, or her offspring – who are Murdoch’s three oldest grandchildren – landing nice roles at the company.

But as Vanity Fair reported back in 2008, Prue is in many ways the one link the family has to reality.

‘She gets away with saying what the others won’t, even things that the others won’t think, and she takes the various family members much less seriously than they do themselves,’ reported the magazine.

‘This involves, not least of all, seeing her three oldest half-siblings – Elisabeth, Lachlan, and James – as, each in his or her way, master-race prototypes.’

It is those three who have long seem poised to battle it out for their father’s media empire – Elisabeth (50), Lachlan (47), and James (46).

All three work in media, with Elisabeth currently experiencing success with Vertical Networks, a startup that provides app-based series that are produced to be viewed in cellular devices.

The relationship between Lachlan and his father has run hot and cold over the years, but that all changed back in 2014 when Murdoch’s older son returned to New York to work for News Corp.

Now, he is the Chairman and CEO of the Fox Corporation.

James, the youngest of the three, was the most loyal, staying by his father’s side and joining News Corp shortly after he dropped out of Harvard.

That devotion was tested however when Murdoch elected to promote Lachlan over James after he return to work in the US following an extended stint in Australia.

The brothers already strained relationship only got worse when Lachlan informed James of this decision over lunch.

James even briefly quit the company, but then ultimately decided to return before then exiting for good.

Murdoch’s youngest children are Grace (18) and Chloe (16), the New York-based daughters born to Murdoch’s third wife Wendi Deng.

Chloe is currently attending an Ivy League college while her sister attends private school in Manhattan.

The ambitions of the two teenagers are unknown, but their fiercely intelligent mother has no doubt seen to it that the two get not one bit less than their older half-siblings.

 

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