Internet | October 25, 2017 12:37 pm

James Murdoch Claims O’Reilly Settlement Was ‘News to Him’

He also wouldn't address how the settlement could affect the company's Sky transaction.

CEO of 21st Century Fox James Murdoch
CEO of 21st Century Fox James Murdoch speaks at National Geographic's Further Front Event at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for National Geographic)

Chief Executive of 21st Century Fox James Murdoch said it was “news to me” that Bill O’Reilly personally settled a complaint brought by a former Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl, for $32 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This figure was reported by The New York Times over the weekend.

Murdoch told the audience at the Paley International Council Summit on Wednesday that it was not a company settlement. “It was news to me when we saw that number the other day,” he said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

The company was aware, however, that O’Reilly had settled the matter before re-upping his contract. They were not privy to the amount he settled for.

Murdoch also discussed how the company is dealing with investigations in the wake of the ousting of both former chairman Roger Ailes and former primetime host Bill O’Reilly.

“At the time, what you do is: you deal with what you know,” Murdoch told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “You investigate things thoroughly. You do the best job you can with that. And you try to make the right decision, and I think we made a decision that’s clear and I hope sends a really strong signal to all of my colleagues, to everyone in the industry, etcetera, that actually there are behaviors that are not to be tolerated, and we’ll continue to strive to live up to that.”

He said because Fox News is a “sprawling business,” it is hard to keep track of everyone’s behaviors at all times. But he said that the company does react to information when they hear it, and can be decisive about next steps.

Murdoch would not address whether the news about O’Reilly’s settlement could or would hurt 21st Century Fox’s bid to take over Sky, reports The Hollywood Reporter. He did say that the regulatory process has been very thorough, and they expect the deal to be cleared in the first half of 2018.