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Wendi Deng Murdoch is opening up for the first time about coming to the defense of her husband, News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, during a Parliamentary hearing in July when comedian Jonnie Marbles threw a pie at the media mogul.
Rupert, who was being questioned in relation to the company’s phone-hacking scandal at its News of the World publication, was the target of a shaving-cream concoction. Before it hit him, his wife leapt to her feet and struck out at the attacker with a right hook before being knocked to the ground.
Murdoch sat motionless with flecks of white on his dark suit while news pictures showed animated police officers talking to the handcuffed attacker in the corridors outside the room.
Wendi, who recently ventured into producing with the film Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, is now breaking her silence on the incident. In what is being billed as her “first interview,” she tells the U.K.’s Guardian that the whole thing was “crazy.”
“It all happened so fast,” she said. “I don’t know what I … it was crazy, but I’m glad it’s over.”
After the incident, several Facebook fan pages launched praising Wendi, and many others — including Katie Couric and Alexandra Wentworth — took to Twitter to laud her swift reaction. (Marbles received a reduced sentence of four weeks’ jail time for the stunt.) She also told the Guardian that she has received several job offers.
“All the Chinese ministers were very proud of me and wanted me to be a Chinese heroine,” she said. “I keep getting job offers as a bodyguard!”
Still, she said she isn’t seeking the spotlight and has actually turned down multiple requests for media interviews.
“I want to stay low-key,” she said. “I get so many requests for interviews to talk about what happened. I just let it pass.”
Meanwhile, the Murdoch family is still facing the fallout from the phone-hacking scandal, which saw the News of the World tabloid shut its doors earlier this year.
The latest reports claimed that Rupert’s son James Murdoch, deputy COO of News Corp., and former Sun and News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks could face police questioning after a new cache of “bombshell” e-mails was found that took the investigation to a “new level.”
News International declined to comment on the reports Saturday night, but a spokeswoman said the organization was “cooperating fully” with the police inquiry.”
For her part, Wendi told the Guardian that the scandal has been “tough” on the Murdoch family.
“It’s tough, but you know, you get through it. It makes the family closer together. Rupert is a very strong man. He takes it, he takes the blame. He moves on. He’s doing good,” she said. “We have a hundred, 200 newspapers, 50,000 people, and a few people made a mistake. We have to learn from the mistake and move on. The majority of people (at News International) are amazing.”
Wendi also is focusing on her new producing career. Her first effort, Snow Flower, opened the Chinese-American film festival in Los Angeles last month. The movie, set in 19th century China, centers on two girls who develop a secret code to circumvent the rigid cultural restrictions on women at the time.
Wendi produced the movie with Florence Sloan, the wife of former MGM chief Harry Sloan, and the two already have their sights set on producing more film projects, particularly “contemporary Chinese stories.” Next month, they are announcing details about their second project, a U.S.-Chinese co-production adapted from a book.
Asked what her husband thinks of her new career, Wendi replied: “My husband has been very supportive. He thinks it makes me happy to make a project. He watched many versions of the edit, and when I was travelling in China to promote the film, he came with me, which brought a bigger turnout! Also, when I was away, he’d stay at home with the kids, which was really nice.”
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