Fox Shareholder Sues Rupert Murdoch, Other Directors Over Coverage of the 2020 Election

On Tuesday, a Fox Corp shareholder filed a lawsuit against Chairman Rupert Murdoch and four other board members, alleging that they failed to prevent Fox News from reporting false information about the 2020 U.S. presidential election, which harmed the network’s credibility and led to litigation.

In the lawsuit filed in Delaware Chancery Court, shareholder Robert Schwarz alleged that the directors breached their duty to ensure that Fox adhered to its ethical standards and averted reputational risk. Instead, they sought to keep former U.S. President Donald Trump’s supporters tuned in.

“FOX knew – from the Board on down – that Fox News was reporting false and dangerous misinformation about the 2020 Presidential election, but FOX was more concerned about short-term ratings and market share than the long-term damages of its failure, to tell the truth,” he said in the lawsuit, which did not say how many shares he owned.

A Fox representative did not respond to a request for comment immediately.

Fox Shareholder Sues Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch, his son and Fox chief executive Lachlan Murdoch, and fellow directors Chase Carey, Roland Hernandez, and Jacques Nasser are defendants in the lawsuit. It also seeks unspecified reforms to corporate governance.

Schwarz said the board’s failure to act on “red flags” subjected the network to defamation claims by two voting technology companies that Fox reported were involved in a conspiracy to steal the U.S. presidential election from Trump.

The two lawsuits filed by Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic USA demand a total of $4 billion in damages.

The trial in the Dominion case is scheduled to commence with opening statements on Monday in Delaware Supreme Court and is anticipated to last five weeks.

Dominion asserts that Fox destroyed its business by willfully broadcasting false claims that its ballot-counting machines were used to manipulate the 2020 election results. Fox has argued that Trump and his attorneys’ allegations of election fraud are inherently newsworthy and protected by press freedom legal doctrines.

A wealth of materials in the complaint were made public in March, including emails and declarations from Rupert Murdoch and other key Fox executives claiming that the assertions made about Dominion on-air were incorrect.

The shareholder lawsuit cited filings in the Dominion lawsuit. Murdoch had acknowledged under questioning from Dominion lawyers that some Fox hosts had “endorsed” the idea that the election was stolen. Murdoch said in the deposition he believed Biden won fairly.

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