Tamara Holder, the former Fox News contributor who received a financial settlement with the company after disclosing sexual misconduct, broke her silence today and said that Rupert Murdoch is “a liar or he’s delusional and old and needs to get out.”
Holder’s comments, made during a blistering appearance on CNN’s Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter, came in response to statements made by Murdoch earlier this week. The executive chairman of 21st Century Fox dismissed sexual harassment allegations against Fox News staffers as “all nonsense.”
Watch part of the interview below.
Holder told Stelter today that she believes Murdoch’s comments have allowed her to speak out, in what otherwise might be a violation of her settlement agreement. Holder, a lawyer, said she is legally allowed to respond if she’s disparaged or maligned. “I would not be here if it wasn’t for what Mr. Murdoch said,” she said of her Reliable Sources appearance.
Murdoch spoke on Thursday in an interview with his majority owned Sky News, addressing the Disney purchase of his company and the multiple sexual misconduct claims against Fox News, claims that resulted in at least $58 million in settlements and legal costs to date. (Fox News is not part of the planned Disney purchase of 21st Century Fox assets.)
Asked how harmful the allegations have been, Murdoch said, “That’s all nonsense,” and said CEO Roger Ailes was the only Fox News figure implicated. 21st Century Fox later released a statement disputing that Murdoch “characterized the sexual harassment matters at Fox News as ‘nonsense,’and that Murdoch had responded negatively to the suggestion that sexual harassment issues were an obstacle to the company’s bid for the rest of Sky.
Today on CNN, Holder slammed Murdoch “nonsense” comment. “Fox allowed abusive predators to prey on women who just wanted to work,” she said. “That is not nonsense.”
Holder also blasted Murdoch’s statement that some recent sexual harassment claims in and out of the media industry “probably amount to a bit of flirting.”
“Let me be clear,” said Holder. “I had a man pull out his penis in his office and shove my head on it. That was not flirting, that was criminal. That was not sexual harassment, there were no gray areas or whatever Matt Damon recently said. This is criminal and I’m not the only case. There are women that can’t speak out.” (Holder’s allegations led to the firing of Francisco Cortes, vice president of Fox News Latino.)
Holder, who said she has sought treatment for PTSD, also addressed the financial implications of harassment claims.
“Either Mr. Murdoch is a liar or he’s delusional and old and needs to get out. So if you’re an investor you need to decide if you want your money with a man who has continued to lie to you for the last 20 years. Your money, hundreds of millions of dollars of your money, has gone to settling cases with women over and over and over again. And we’ve been told we had to shut up, and that’s what we’ve done.
“I’m stuck here talking about this because there are people like Rupert Murdoch who continue to deny that we were abused, and our careers were destroyed and our lives were destroyed. This is not political, this is people’s lives.”
Holder said that harassment victims, including herself, have found it difficult to find work post-Fox, particularly since they had to sign settlement agreements that they’d not re-seek employment within the Fox corporation.
“I can’t even apply for a job because he allowed me to be abused in his workplace? And didn’t protect me? I can’t work anywhere now, there’s something wrong with me? It’s just pain on top of pain on top of pain, and for him to say something like that is so dismissive. We just want to work.”
“He got rid of all the women who were abused,” she said, “and we’re still out of jobs.”
Holder urged other networks to hire Fox harassment victims. “Hire one of us. You have all this talent sitting at home, dying inside. We want to work. Bring us back so we can do what we did before we were abused.”