Rupert Murdoch may be forced to step down as chairman and chief executive officer of News Corp., following the phone-hacking and police corruption scandal that has engulfed his media empire, according to another media tycoon, Ted Turner.
Turner, who founded the CNN cable news network and sold it to Time-Warner in 1996, told Bloomberg that Murdoch is going to have to step down, and that he should have known about the hacking of voicemails at the British tabloid the News of the World which was forced to shut down after almost 170 years of operation.
Turner noted that, at age 72, he is too old to run a corporation while Murdoch is even older.
“Murdoch's still doing it at 80, but for not for much longer, I'm afraid,” Turner said. “I think he's going to have to step down.
Turner also indicated that Murdoch has never faced anything as grave as the phone-hacking travesty, which has already led to a number of arrests in Britain and prompted a parliamentary committee to interrogate Murdoch and his son.
“He hadn't survived anything like this, this is serious,” Turner warned. “It's going against the law. You know, not even Rupert Murdoch should be allowed to break the law. Nobody should.”
Turner, the former husband of actress Jane Fonda, also doesn’t buy Murdoch’s assertion that he knew nothing about his employees hacking peoples’ phones.
“He should have known,” Turner noted. “I mean, he was chairman of the board. He's responsible. I took responsibility when I ran my company. You never heard me say, 'Well, I didn't know. You never saw me get in that kind of trouble, did you?
Turner and Murdoch reportedly have had a cantankerous relationship, but Turner insisted those days are over and that the two have reconciled.
I did, and I still have made amends,” he said. “I'm just, quite frankly; I'm very disappointed that [phone-hacking this has occurred.”
Back in 1983, a yacht sponsored by Murdoch collided with a boat owned by Turner during a race between Sydney, Australia to Hobart. Reportedly, at a dinner following the race, Turner physically attacked Murdoch and challenged him to a fistfight in Las Vegas that would have been televised.
Turner also later accused Murdoch of being a “warmonger” for supporting the invasion of Iraq by President George W. Bush.
Meanwhile, Murdoch faces more questions about the scandal.
“A major media company should definitely be following the law, that's all,” Turner said.
“And when they break the law and certainly, it's already been admitted that News of the World broke the law. So, there's no question that the law was broken.
Turner added: The question is how big a scandal is it? And they're investigating that now, and we'll know soon enough. But in the mean time, you know, you are innocent until you're proven guilty. And I believe in that, too.