After more than two hours, the British Parliament committee inquiry into the News of the World phone hacking scandal was interrupted when a male spectator lunged for media titan Rupert Murdoch and attempted to hit him with a plate of shaving cream. A 15-minute break was taken so order could be restored, and the man was handcuffed by police authorities.
Before the attempted attack, Murdoch told the committee that he was humbled and ashamed by the phone-hacking scandal that precipitated the closing of the News of the World tabloid and cast a cloud over his entire News Corp empire. But the 80-year-old billionaire stopped short of accepting blame, claiming “the people that I trusted to run [the paper] and then maybe people they trusted” were ultimately responsible. Near the end of the questioning, Murdoch was asked if he had contemplated stepping down from the company. He firmly answered he had not.
Often deferring to his 38-year-old son, James, Murdoch deliberately took his time to consider and respond to the committee’s questions, often banging his hand against the desk to punctuate his points. When James Murdoch volunteered that he was better informed as News International chairman to answer questions directed at his father, committee member Tom Watson replied it was “revealing in itself” what Rupert Murdoch does not know.
Rupert Murdoch denied accusations that his paper hacked the phones of the victims of the 9/11 attacks in America. “We have seen no evidence of that at all, and as far as we know, the FBI haven’t either. If they do, we would treat it exactly the same way as we treat it here,” Murdoch said. “I cannot believe it happened.”