Rupert Murdoch Clarifies 'Scumbag Celebrities' Rant, Calls Them 'Dodgy'

Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch
 

LONDON -- Under pressure from critics, News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch has issued an apology of sorts for the words he used in a Twitter rant, in which he had called out "scumbag celebrities" for having met British Prime Minister David Cameron to push for stricter U.K. privacy laws.

But in the process, the media mogul called the celebrities "dodgy," setting off another wave of angry tweets.

Welsh singer and actress Charlotte Church and British TV host Jacqui Hames had ‏on Sunday taken to Twitter to urge Murdoch to withdraw and apologize for the weekend tweet about "scumbag celebrities." According to reports, Cameron had met with them and others, including actor Grant.

One critic tweeted to Murdoch: "It's disappointing to see your tweets descending to the language of the gutter."

Murdoch late Sunday U.S. time responded: "Sorry, you are right. Sometimes too angry."

A journalist also sent a tweet to Murdoch, saying: "I set up meeting between PM, a former Crimewatch presenter, a singer and an actor. You must be referring to all."

Responded Murdoch: "I never referred to any particular people, just some "dodgy" self promoting celebrities. Repeat apology for language."

In another tweet, he said he was "not referring to these ladies."

The mogul in a response to yet another person on Twitter then drew a connection to the current U.K. debate about sexual harrassment charges against late Top of the Pops host Jimmy Savile. Murdoch said the likes of Savile would be "further protected if we don't fight Cameron, dodgy celebrities in UK." He added that such a thing "could not happen in [the] US."

Church expressed her displeasure with the mogul's new wording. She messaged him on Twitter with the lines: "What do you mean by 'dodgy'? My understanding of the word is 'lacking legitimacy', a term that befits NI before me or J.Hames."

"NI" stands for News International, the U.K. newspaper unit of News Corp. that has been at the center of the phone hacking scandal. Church earlier this year settled phone hacking charges with News Corp. for $950,000.

Hames also tweeted: "When you're in a hole Rupert....Celebrities not scumbags, just 'dodgy,' Murdoch tweets."

Earlier in the weekend debate about his original comment, Murdoch also seemed to take a direct shot at Grant.

"Scumbags? And your journalists and executives are what?" one critic tweeted to him. Responded Murdoch: "They don't get arrested for indecency on major LA highways! Or abandon love child's."

Late last year, reports emerged that Grant had a baby with a Chinese woman after a brief affair. In 1995, he was arrested for lewd conduct in the company of a prostitute in LA.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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