Here’s another headache for the Murdoch media and entertainment empire: the soon-to-be released movie Bombshell starring Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and Charlize Theron. It’s all about the way female Fox News hosts, producers and other staffers battled and brought to the surface the endemic harassment (sexual and otherwise) under the rule of the late Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.
Bombshell was launched into the Oscar race on Sunday with two screenings in Hollywood (it will be officially released on December 20, and in Australia in January). Deadline talked it up: “Reaction was strong for a movie that is funny, fierce, furious, powerful, timely and moving — qualities that ought to secure it a place in the Oscar conversation as the season ramps up”.
Ailes is widely acknowledged as making the Murdochs richer and more powerful than ever because of the way he built and positioned Fox News as the most influential media outlet in America.
But he was brought down — and paid millions of dollars by the Murdochs to depart in 2016 — after hosts led by Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly raised accusations of years of sexual abuse, harassment and bullying at the network under Ailes and other powerful figures including former host Bill O’Reilly. Dozens of other women came forward to tell their stories in the wake of Ailes’ resignation.
By all reports Rupert Murdoch sat in the background as the sexual harassment and abuse claims erupted around Ailes and Fox News. Management was changed slowly (one senior executive, Bill Shine, went to work for Donald Trump in the White House and is now working on Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign).
You have to wonder how the Murdoch outlets will review the film.