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December 18, 2017

Last week, Fox News chairman Rupert Murdoch brushed off the sexual misconduct cases that ended the careers of the network's top star, Bill O'Reilly, and its top executive, Roger Ailes, telling Britain's Sky News that "it's all nonsense" and "isolated incidents," suggesting the sexual abuse claims were "largely political because we are conservative." CNN's Brian Stelter played Murdoch's comments on Sunday, then gave the floor to former Fox News contributor Tamara Holder, who said Murdoch's statements freed her of the silence imposed under her $2.5 million settlement with Fox News.

Fox News will probably sue her, but "I legally have a right to respond if I am disparaged or defamed," Holder said. "What Mr. Murdoch said, in my opinion as a lawyer, not as a victim or a survivor, is that this gives me a legal right to respond," both for herself and the other victims who can't come forward. "If this is political, then let's take these cases to trial," she added. "Let's open it up. You're the ones who wanted to settle. You're the ones who wanted us to be quiet."

Part of the settlement was a lifetime ban from even applying to work for a 21st Century Fox company, Holder said. "Fox News ruined people's lives," she said. Murdoch "ruined my life. I don't have a job in TV anymore because the place he has secured down like Fort Knox allowed abusive predators to prey on women who just wanted to work." Without naming names, she gave some details of her sexual assault, and criticized Murdoch's characterization of what went on at his company. "He said there were cases that amounted to flirting. Let me be clear. I had a man pull out his penis in his office and shove my head on it — that was not flirting, that was criminal."

"It's just pain on top of pain on top of pain," Holder said. Peter Weber

8:36 p.m. ET
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Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Monday released a proposal requiring drug companies reveal how much their medications cost in television ads.

"Right now, drug companies are required to disclose the major side effects a drug can have — but not the effect that buying the drug could have on your wallet," the department said in a statement. The law would apply to brand-name drugs covered by both Medicare and Medicaid, CBS News reports, as long as a typical course of treatment costs more than $35 every month.

PhRMA, the drug industry's largest trade group, said it is open to putting prices up on a website, but believes if prices are revealed in commercials, that could "discourage patients from seeking needed medical care." Catherine Garcia

7:59 p.m. ET
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On Monday, a federal judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit adult film star Stormy Daniels filed against President Trump, and ordered her to pay his legal fees.

Daniels, who said she had sex with Trump in 2006, claimed that in 2011, after she agreed to discuss the affair in an interview, she was threatened by a man in a Las Vegas parking lot. Trump tweeted this was a "total con job," and she was "playing the Fake News Media for Fools."

Daniels sued, saying Trump suggested she was a liar, but Judge S. James Otero said Monday the tweet "constitutes 'rhetorical hyperbole' normally associated with politics and public discourse in the United States," and is protected by the First Amendment. Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, said he will appeal. Catherine Garcia

7:25 p.m. ET
Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP

The Endeavor talent firm is in discussions to return a $400 million investment from the Saudi Arabian government's Public Investment Fund, two people with knowledge of the matter told NBC News on Monday.

The move comes after the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Turkey has told U.S. officials it has audio proof that he was murdered inside the consulate.

The Public Investment Fund agreed in March to buy a small stake in Endeavor. Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel said on Monday the disappearance of Khashoggi was "upsetting" and he was "really concerned." If Endeavor does cut ties with Saudi Arabia, it would be one of the most visible moves by an American company to distance itself from the kingdom in the wake of Khashoggi's disappearance. Catherine Garcia

6:37 p.m. ET
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Paul Allen, the philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, died Monday in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was 65.

In a statement, his sister, Jody, said Allen was "a remarkable individual on every level." Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Allen "created magical products, experiences, and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world." He founded Microsoft in 1975 with Bill Gates, and after leaving the company, founded Vulcan, Inc, which oversaw his philanthropic and business endeavors.

One of the world's wealthiest people, Allen's net worth was estimated at more than $20 billion. He owned the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks, plus had a stake in the Seattle Sounders soccer team. Allen was diagnosed nine years ago with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and announced earlier this month he had started treatment for it again. Catherine Garcia

5:57 p.m. ET

President Trump once said he'd pay $1 million to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) charity of choice if she proved she was "an Indian." In true Trumpian fashion, he's now negotiating the deal.

Trump has continually derided Warren for her assertion of Native American ancestry, suggesting it's untrue and dubbing her "Pocahontas" during rallies. So on Monday, Warren released a video challenging Trump's mockery and sharing DNA analysis that provided "strong evidence" that she has some Native American ancestry. Upon hearing the news, Trump declared that he never made a $1 million pledge, CNN reports.

Later in the day, Trump was more willing to play ball. He said Warren would have to win the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination to receive the cash. Warren hasn't said she's running for president, but pundits say she's a top contender. Trump also, somewhat disturbingly, said he would have to "test [Warren] personally" to seal the deal.

Trump isn't the only one who took issue with Warren's test results. The Cherokee Nation released a response to Warren's video on Monday, saying "using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong." Read the whole statement below. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:21 p.m. ET
BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images

The Saudi government is planning to release a detailed report on missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, sources told CNN on Monday.

Saudi officials are reportedly planning to admit that Khashoggi was killed, after previously claiming they had no knowledge about the incident. Khashoggi arrived at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, earlier this month before he went missing. The Saudi government will reportedly say that Khashoggi died during an interrogation gone wrong and that there was an unauthorized operation conducted to abduct him from Turkey. Those involved in the operation will face repercussions, the report will likely say.

Information about the new report comes after President Trump said Saudi King Salman "strongly" denied having any knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi during a private phone call. Trump seemed inclined to believe this, speculating that the reporter could have been killed by "rogue agents." Turkey previously told the United States it had evidence that a Saudi security team killed Khashoggi at the consulate and dismembered his body.

The Saudi report has not yet been released, and CNN's sources indicate that some details could still change. Brendan Morrow

4:07 p.m. ET

Stormy Daniels never wanted to become a feminist "hero," and that didn't change when she entered the national spotlight.

When Daniels confirmed the leaked story of her alleged affair with President Trump, she only "wanted to set the record straight and not be bullied," she told The Cut in an interview published Sunday. But now, Daniels, an adult film actress and director, says people think she's "in charge of saving the world," and it's become an "emotionally overwhelming" duty.

Before Daniels' revelation, she'd pack clubs with "middle-aged white guys [who] are usually Trump fans," she said. Today, they've been replaced with "large groups of women" who turn out in droves, often in matching T-shirts.

Still, Daniels doesn't see herself as "anybody's hero," The Cut writes. She doesn't want to be attached to the "#MeToo" movement, since she wasn't "forced" to do anything. Tying her to the movement just "takes power away from the people who've been assaulted or raped or [sexually] harassed by their boss," she explains. And she says she's "not a feminist," because she doesn't "necessarily try to help women."

In fact, Daniels actually "feel[s] sorry for men right now," she says, adding that "a guy can't even open a door for a lady without being called a pig." For those who don't like that, well, Daniels says she looks forward to their angry tweets — Twitter has been too "nice" lately. Read more of Daniels' interview at The Cut. Kathryn Krawczyk

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