Why Kelvin MacKenzie blunder may derail Murdoch’s Sky bid

Will the farrago over former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie’s bizarre (and highly offensive) column about Everton’s Ross Barkley – Mckenzie compared him to an ape on the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster (below) – affect Rupert Murdoch’s bid for the 61 per cent of Sky he doesn’t currently own?

Montage: Daily Record

The Sun is published by News UK, nowadays a separate company from Fox which is bidding for Sky, but both are controlled by the Murdoch family. The phone hacking scandal put paid to Murdoch’s previous bid for Sky.

Among other things UK regulator Ofcom is examining whether the Murdochs, chiefly James who’s CEO of Fox, are “fit and proper people” to control a major UK broadcaster. Now the Murdochs didn’t pass MacKenzie’s inflammatory copy for publication personally but serried other Murdoch-employed News UK types did despite it having ‘disaster ahoy’ plastered all over it.

Fox in the US is currently suffering the consequences of another sexual harassment scandal as controversial right wing anchor Bill O’Reilly is sidelined following a number of accusations against him. Among other things this led to an advertiser boycott. Former Fox boss Roger Ailes left following a similar outbreak. Do lady journalists at Fox wear reinforced knickers?

None of this suggests fit and proper to many of us although it doesn’t seem to bother Rupert too much. Ofcom may take a different view.

And still no word from News UK CEO Rebekah Brooks (embroiled in the phone hacking affair but acquitted in court) for whom all this must be like Groundhog Day.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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