The Government Might Be Investigating The Disney-Fox Merger 'Democrats Call for Hearings on Disney-Fox Merger'
Photo: The Simpsons predicted Disney would buy Fox in 1998 episode
'Democrats Call for Hearings on Disney-Fox Merger'
Ted Johnson Top Democrats on the Senate and House antitrust subcommittees are calling for hearings on the Walt Disney Co.’s proposed acquisition of a large portion of 21st Century Fox, including its film and TV studio, cable networks, and regional sports channels.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, said that the proposed transaction was “another industry-changing merger, which would have major implications in television, film, and media.”
“I’m concerned about the impact of this transaction on American consumers,” she said. She said that she has asked Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who chairs the subcommittee, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, to schedule a hearing. None has been set so far. After AT&T and Time Warner announced their plans to combine in October, 2016, Lee and Klobuchar quickly announced plans for a hearing.
Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), who is the ranking member of the House Judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee, called for a close look at the transaction.
He said in a statement, he said that the country was at a “monopoly moment.” “Disney’s proposed purchase of 21st Century Fox threatens to put control of TV, movie, and news content into the hands of a single media giant.”
“If it’s approved, this merger could allow Disney to limit what consumers can watch and increase their cable bills. Disney will gain more than 300 channels, 22 regional sports networks, control over Hulu, and a significant portion of Roku.” Disney CEO Robert Iger has said that the merger will be better for consumers, as the company builds out a new streaming service to compete with Netflix and Amazon.
The companies expect the regulatory process to take about 12 to 18 months. The Justice Department is likely to review the transaction, but it does not require congressional approval. Still, past major media mergers have typically come before committees for public hearings.
Walt Disney Company May Face Multiple Lawsuits as Harvey Weinstein's Sexual Allegations Continue
Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg, who ran the Walt Disney Company during the Harvey Weinstein years (1993-2005), have both denied any knowledge of Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct during those years. This would include any sexual harassment settlements made during that time. The Weinstein Company also denies any knowledge. These denials could be tested in a court of law should those alleging harassment and abuse choose to press the issue of corporate liability.
In 1979, two brothers from the outer boroughs of New York, Bob and Harvey Weinstein, had a dream and founded Miramax. Named after their parents, Miriam and Max, the company specialized in distributing smaller films, independent products the studios were not interested in.
The big time arrived in 1989 with the distribution of director Steven Soderbergh's Sex, Lies and Videotape, a smash that changed independent film forever.
What followed was more success than failure, and even some Oscar gold. To capitalize on their good fortune, rather than take the company public, the brothers decided to sell, and in June of 1993, the Walt Disney Co. purchased Miramax for $60 million.
With almost total independence, Harvey and Bob stayed on. The rocky relationship between the volatile but successful brothers and the stuffy parent company lasted 12 years.
In March of 2005, the brothers bolted Disney, left their beloved company behind, and founded The Weinstein Company.
Throughout these three decades, according to those who have just come forward, Harvey allegedly harassed, groped, and even raped numerous young women, many of them employed by his company in various capacities, including as actresses. Other alleged victims claim he used the promise/threat of employment to lure them into compromising situations.
Moreover, during this time, according to the New York Times, Weinstein settled no fewer than eight sexual harassment claims. One we know of goes back to 1997, when Miramax was owned by the Walt Disney Company.
As this scandal widens, it is becoming more and more obvious that this alleged behavior by Weinstein (without being specific, he admits and denies the allegations) was not a secret to everyone in Hollywood. Many, including actress Jessica Chastain, say outright that Weinstein's predatory ways were openly discussed, that she was warned about working for him.
Which brings me back to the issue of corporate liability.
If, sometime between the years 1993 and 2005, when it owned Miramax, Disney was aware of Weinstein's behavior, Disney was obligated to protect its employees, including young actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow and Rose McGowan, who claim to have been harassed, including Asia Argento who claims Weinstein raped her in 1997.
Outside of the "open secret," another issue that makes one wonder about Disney's moral, ethical, and legal liability, is the settlements.
Unless Weinstein settled using his own money, which is unlikely, how could Disney not know about corporate money spent for sexual harassment settlements?
My colleague Joel Pollak, an attorney, sees a potential liability: As more alleged victims come forward, it is possible that some could decide to sue Disney for failing to exercise its arguable duty, during its ownership of Weinstein's Miramax for more than a decade, to protect employees from a sexually predatory boss - if, in fact, Disney knew or had reason to know of his behavior.
By failing to intervene early, those in a position to hold Weinstein accountable arguably allowed him to continue his abusive behavior and could now conceivably face legal liability from victims - at least from those who did not sign the settlement agreements that have been revealed. Pollak informs me that the same can be said of The Weinstein Company, the corporation formed by Harvey and Bob in 2005. The Weinstein Company may have fired Harvey, but brother Bob remains, as does any potential corporate liability.
And what about Bob? Did he not know about his own business partner's-his own brother's-settlements?
The women who have already accepted settlements from Weinstein probably cannot sue as a term of accepting that settlement.
But all those women who claim to have been harassed by Weinstein, those who have not sued, could very well have a case against both Disney and The Weinstein Company.
If one or both of those corporations knew what Harvey was allegedly up to, and did nothing to protect its employees, this scandal, which is already the biggest in Hollywood history, is only getting started. Read More
Tanya's background in the entertainment industry working alongside a former CIA agent makes her the perfect Hollywood Insider, and her ongoing experiences with UFO visitation makes her a credible asset to the UFO Truth Movement. Her goal is to use her personal experiences to uncover and expose the TRUTH.
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