Regan Personally Dumped By Murdoch?
Judith Regan, who as head of News Corp's Harper Collins imprint ReganBooks made the deal to buy O.J. Simpson book, If I Did It, and personally interviewed Simpson about the book for a planned two-part telecast on Fox, was fired on Friday. The company issued a tersely worded statement saying that she had been terminated "effective immediately." Some reports suggested that News Corp executives, including Chairman Rupert Murdoch, were outraged by Regan's decision to published an "inventive memoir" about Mickey Mantle that included numerous unsubstantiated rumors, including one about Mantle having had an affair with Marilyn Monroe. A different report, appearing in the New York Times, said that Murdoch sent Regan packing after he heard reports that she had had a heated conversation with a company lawyer on Friday in which she uttered comments that were considered anti-Semitic. According to the Times account, the lawyer reported Regan's remarks to HarperCollins President and CEO Jane Friedman, who in turn phoned Murdoch. Later that day, according to the Times, which cited two sources, security guards arrived at Regan's offices in Los Angeles with boxes and ordered her to leave. "This came completely out of the blue," one executive told the newspaper. "She was completely taken by surprise." But in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, attorney Bert Fields, Regan's lawyer, said, "They've chosen war and they will get exactly that. ... She won't take this lying down."