Succession anxiety: bombshell claims about Rupert Murdoch and family

Rupert Murdoch’s alleged belief that James is collaborating with the producers of Succession was among the series of revelations contained in a bombshell article about Fair Vanity.

Gabriel Sherman, a journalist who has spent decades writing about the Murdoch business, spoke to several well-placed sources who painted a bleak picture of the wealthy super-family. He wrote, “I was struck by how sad all the Murdochs seemed.”

While the main takeaway for fans of Succession is that the article contained several striking revelations, it imitates their lives, which imitates the art.

Before being flown by a private jet to a hospital at UCLA, he had spent a night on a gurney in Guadalupe, where he was to be lowered onto a stretcher and taken to a port. Murdoch found himself in excruciating pain on the cabin floor of his 140ft yacht in early 2018, as claimed by the article.

Deng’s ex-wife, Wendi, reportedly suggested that she pushed him into a piano during a fight, resulting in fractured vertebrae and a broken back. Doctors from Vanity Fair diagnosed Murdoch with arrhythmia. Despite requests to respond, Deng did not comment on these reports.

He ended his relationship with Jerry Hall through email.

My New York lawyer will be in touch with you promptly. I have a lot to do, but we have definitely had some good times. According to a screenshot read by Jerry Hall, Jerry Murdoch’s wife, I have sadly decided to put an end to our marriage.

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Murdoch and Hall on their wedding day in 2016. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

She was blindsided as friends of Hall told her that she was never fought as a couple and later divorced Murdoch and Hall, who reportedly included a condition in which she could not give ideas for the story of Succession writers. She was also given a home in Oxfordshire where the magazine reports discovered surveillance cameras were sending footage to Fox Headquarters. Mick Jagger sent his security consultant to disconnect them.

He’s been sick – but remains convinced he will be immortal

As per a reliable source, Murdoch has suffered from a spinal injury, experienced seizures, encountered two episodes of pneumonia, dealt with atrial fibrillation, and torn his Achilles tendon in the past few years. It is reported that he unexpectedly fainted at his granddaughter’s wedding just a day after being discharged from the medical facility where he received treatment for Covid-19. Notably, he was attired in a white suit and red tie, resembling the iconic style of Tom Wolfe.

However, a reliable informant mentioned that his relatives enjoyed reminding the individual in their nineties: ‘While forty may be considered the new thirty, eighty is still eighty.’ As a matter of fact, she passed away at the remarkable age of 103, which serves as a testament to his mother’s exceptional lifespan. It is possible that he jests about his eternal existence.

He is preoccupied with the matter of his inheritance

Murdoch has harbored a desire for quite some time to have one of his three children from his second marriage – Elisabeth, 54, Lachlan, 51, and James, 50 – assume control of the family business, similar to the scenario depicted in the HBO show.

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A certain interviewee, who is well-acquainted with the family, revealed: “He consistently pitted his children against each other throughout their entire existence. It’s genuinely lamentable.”

The key question is where their loyalties lie – will their loyalties be equally distributed after Murdoch’s first marriage, where Murdoch has one vote each for his daughter Prudence and his sons James, Lachlan, and Elisabeth, while Murdoch has four votes from sources briefed on the trust’s governance. According to the sources, they will have the final say on the future of the company and the potential successor has been a child of each of them.

Rupert Murdoch with his then wife, Anna, and children Lachlan, James and Elisabeth at their home in New York in 1989. Photograph: Peter Carrette Archive/Getty Images

James Murdoch believes that selling equity to private investors would create a sense of “visceral fear” within the network’s future. He also envisions transforming it into an alternative centre-right news outlet, potentially competing with CNN. Furthermore, James believes that he and his sisters can eventually gain control and purge Fox News, while patiently waiting for the right moment to take action, according to sources close to him.

Despite receiving confirmation from multiple sources, it remains uncertain whether Lachlan, a well-known enthusiast of luxurious living, truly desires the highest position.

People believe he has gone crazy

Sherman asserts that an “unpredictable” strategy towards Murdoch’s personal life and media empire in recent times has “caused even those close to him to question if he has become disconnected from reality”.

Lesley Ann Smith, a 66-year-old former radio host, has been prompted to engage with QAnon, a political style characterized by speculation “radicalized by his own echo chamber.” This includes a two-week engagement with Murdoch’s.

After the engagement with Smith’s became uncomfortable, he decided to call off the engagement. However, he had not yet informed Murdoch, the magazine’s source, to close.

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Sherman identifies Murdoch’s “most damaging error” as Fox News’s coverage of Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential election defeat, which resulted in a $1.6bn defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems revealing that even executives at Fox News didn’t believe Trump’s stolen election conspiracies.

Murdoch ‘knew Trump was a fool’

Sources say that Murdoch was furious with Trump’s unpredictable pandemic strategies, such as recommending that Americans inject bleach into their bodies. Sherman reports, referring to a family insider. Despite Murdoch’s close association with Trump, he despised “Trump’s xenophobia and lack of knowledge.”

Donald Trump with Murdoch at Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen in 2016. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

“Sherman portrays Fox News’s subsequent admiration of Trump in the White House as an extension of Murdoch’s well-established tactic of forming partnerships with politicians from various ideological backgrounds as long as they served his interests.”

Murdoch reportedly extended an invitation to the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, to join him for a lunch gathering in 2020, during which he was informed that Fox News would endorse his presidential campaign in 2024.

His sons vied for his love through a business transaction

According to the magazine, James and Lachlan Murdoch engaged in a conflict regarding Disney’s offer to acquire 21st Century Fox. As per one insider, James supported the agreement as he believed that securing a prominent position at Disney would allow him to showcase his expertise to his father, instead of being perceived as “the lesser child, regardless of one’s achievements, compared to the other son”.

According to three sources, tensions rose as a source “close to Lachlan” said he had a panic attack about the merger. Lachlan, who believed that Fox’s assets were undervalued, felt that Rupert would be the next to go.

Sherman expressed that the final agreement, which led to Lachlan assuming the role of chief executive of Murdoch’s newly established Fox Corporation, was a significant accomplishment for his father. “It resolved his issues regarding succession. James was no longer in the picture. Lachlan took his place.”

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