Lachlan Murdoch, Fox Corporation CEO and son of News Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch, has sued an Australian publication called Crikey for defamation. The lawsuit is poised to garner immense attention and serve as a test for Australia’s notoriously strict defamation laws.
The publication alleges Murdoch was involved in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Heading into what will likely be a highly publicized lawsuit, Murdoch brings with him generational wealth and a net worth in the billions.
Was Lachlan Murdoch really involved in the Jan. 6 insurrection?
Australian news outlet Crikey published an open letter in The New York Times challenging the head of Fox Corp. to sue them. Murdoch did just that.
The lawsuit stems from a column Crikey published, which alleged the Murdoch family of involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Murdoch’s lawsuit is technically against the outlet’s parent company Private Media.
The article in question is largely about former President Donald Trump’s involvement in the insurrection, an issue the U.S. Department of Justice is still investigating. Already, the courts found Steve Bannon guilty of contempt of Congress for “unlawfully defying a subpoena issued by the Jan. 6 panel, which was seeking both documents and testimony,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
The article’s writer, Bernard Keane, briefly mentioned the Murdoch family, stating, “The Murdochs and their slew of poisonous Fox News commentators are the unindicted co-conspirators.” An earlier iteration of the article, which has since been removed and published with edits, called Murdoch himself an “unindicted co-conspirator.”
What’s next in Lachlan Murdoch v. Crikey?
Murdoch sought an apology from Crikey, but it never came. Instead, the publication proceeded with an undeniably taunting open letter and a forthcoming lawsuit hearing in Australian federal court.
Australia boasts notoriously strict defamation laws that have been recently reformed. There is now a threshold criteria requiring the “allegedly defamatory matter has caused (or is likely to cause) serious harm to the plaintiff.” However, they still have a history of favoring the monetarily powerful side.
Australian journalist Denis Muller writes, “Australia’s defamation laws enable the rich and powerful to intimidate their critics.” Muller adds high-profile Australians like billionaires and politicians are among the top beneficiaries of defamation laws in the nation’s court system.
CEO of Fox Corporation
Net worth: $4.43 billion
- Birth date: September 8, 1971
- Education: Princeton University (BA)
- Wife: Sarah O'Hare (married 1999)
- Children: Kalan, Aidan, Aerin
- Lachlan Murdoch was Australia's 22nd richest person in 2021. He is involved in three pending lawsuits, including the one against Crikey. Voting machine maker Dominion is suing Murdoch and his father for $1.6 billion for spreading a false narrative of voting fraud after the 2020 presidential election via Fox News. Another voting machine maker called Smartmatic is suing Murdoch and his father for $2.7 billion for defamation.
What is Lachlan Murdoch worth?
Murdoch is worth approximately $4.43 billion as of last year. This number will likely balloon when he inherits a portion of his father’s wealth. Rupert Murdoch (currently 91 years old) founded News Corp. in 1979 and maintains a net worth of $19.2 billion. Lachlan Murdoch will have to split money with at least his five siblings, but he still has plenty of money to maintain a position of power in the lawsuit.