Ted Sarandos Pokes Fun at Fox's "Labor" Woes at Panel
“Well, I wouldn’t have guessed a few months ago that we would be the least interesting labor story at News Corp,” the Netflix executive joked.
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos on Wednesday took the opportunity during an executive panel to take a dig at Fox News' recent legal problems.
When CNBC's Julia Boorstin asked the executives at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills about an ongoing court battle between Fox and Netflix over employee poaching, Sarandos responded with a dig aimed at the embattled network.
“Well, I wouldn’t have guessed a few months ago that we would be the least interesting labor story at News Corp,” Sarandos joked.
Peter Rice, chairman and CEO, Fox Networks Group, offered a more detail response: “Ultimately, we sued Netflix and they sued us back. Netflix was inducing people to break contracts.”
He continued, “If the California court decides no one is allowed to have personal service contracts, we will live with that, [but] I think there are a lot of people who want to have personal service contracts.”
Fox sued Netflix last fall for allegedly causing two of its executives to breach employment agreements. Netflix claimed their agreements were unenforceable and amounted to nothing more than "involuntary servitude."
Also speaking on Wednesday, CBS chief Leslie Moonves disavowed his famous line about Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy that he uttered early last year when he said, “It may not be good for America, but it’s good for CBS.”
“It was a joke,” the exec insisted, explaining that he made the remark in February 2016, when there were still more than a dozen Republican candidates and he was asked a question about the political advertising market. Moonves went on to say that he was really referring to the fact that it was a contentious race.
Asked whether his network would take a different approach to programming in the wake of Trump’s victory, Moonves responded, “We program for America,” adding, “We do not say, ‘OK, Donald Trump is president, let’s make our programming somewhat different.'”
The CBS executive also said he is "greatly relieved" about the avoidance of a WGA strike and is confident that there also will be a new SAG deal.
Watch the panel below. Sarandos' comment is at the one-hour mark.