Rupert Murdoch, alongside his son James, faced a parliamentary committee over the phone hacking scandal this afternoon and stated that this was “the most humble day of my life.” A couple of hours later, humble pie was indeed served.
James and Rupert Murdoch appear before the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee with Wendi Deng Murdoch sat immediately behind along with amongst others Chris Bryant MP
Murdoch Senior was candid with the committee but when asked about his meetings with prime ministers, he simply joked: “I wish they’d leave me alone.” Of his lack of knowledge of activities at The News of the World, he stated:
“I lost sight of it because it was so small in the general frame of our company… This is not as an excuse. Maybe it’s an explanation of my laxity… I employ 53,000 people around the world.”
When accused of “wilful blindness,” as is said to have occurred in the Enron case, Murdoch was categoric in his denial: “We were not ever guilty of that,” but when asked about his relationship with his management he quipped: “Most of them think I’ve got crazy ideas.”
Murdoch Junior was far more cautious. With a plainly prepared mantra, he repeatedly used the phrase: “We’re being as transparent as we can” in response to questions that he felt could not be answered because of the ongoing legal proceedings. He claimed his training for the committee appearance had simply focused on “telling the truth.”
Jonnie Marbles tweets
At 16.51, a protestor, who had plainly had enough, tweeted: “It is a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before #splat.” Minutes later a foam pie was thrown into Rupert Murdoch’s face by the troublemaker who called him “a greedy billionaire.”
Wendi Deng Murdoch deals with her husband's attacker
“Tiger-like,” Murdoch’s wife, who was sat just behind her husband, threw the pie back at the protestor, who has now been identified as an activist named Jonnie Marbles, and then slapped him in the face. As police intervened, one Murdoch aide was knocked to the ground and the protestor was then handcuffed and removed.
A handcuffed Jonnie Marbles with police
After an adjournment of ten minutes, the committee resumed their questioning of a now jacketless Murdoch Senior before moving on to Rebekah Brooks shortly after.
Guy Ritchie once said: “Relationships are about eating humble pie.” Today, Australia’s answer to Citizen Kane and his relationships were very much publicly humbled.
Watch the HOC Culture, Media and Sport Committee questions the Murdochs at http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=8923