On the morning of the Fox News/Google debate that Donald Trump has vowed to boycott, the Republican front-runner retweeted a bogus graphic that purports to show Fox News host Megyn Kelly posing with Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and his sister. The image is fake.
It also claims that Prince Alwaleed is a “co-owner of Fox.” In fact, a company the prince controls only owns a 6.6 percent share of Fox News’ parent company.
Let’s first dispense with the photo, though. It’s fake. Here’s the original, showing Kelly at a Hollywood Reporter party, from which the picture of Kelly was lifted:
And if that wasn’t proof enough, we reached out to a Fox News spokeswoman, Dana Klinghoffer, who confirmed “it’s doctored.”
Trump has been feuding with Kelly since the first Republican debate in August, when Kelly asked a pointed question about disparaging names Trump has called various women. Trump announced on Jan. 26 that he would be skipping the Jan. 28 Fox News/Google debate, which Kelly again will moderate.
‘Co-Owner of Fox News’?
The bogus tweet also targets another Trump adversary, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and the grandson of King Abdulaziz Alsaud, the founder and first ruler of Saudi Arabia.
The two have been feuding on Twitter. Alwaleed called Trump a “disgrace” and called on the Republican to withdraw from the presidential race after Trump’s call in December for a temporary ban on all Muslim travel to the U.S. Never one to back away from a skirmish, Trump responded by called Alwaleed “dopey” and said Alwaleed “wants to control our U.S. politicians with daddy’s money.”
The bad blood between the two appears to go back even farther. Prince Alwaleed’s company, Kingdom Holdings, bought the landmark Plaza hotel in New York City from Trump in 1995 after Trump’s bankruptcy. Kingdom Holdings still owns the famous hotel. Alwaleed also bought Trump Princess, the world’s third largest yacht at the time, from Trump in 1990.
So what about the graphic’s claim that Alwaleed is the “co-owner of Fox News”?
Prince Alwaleed is the chairman of Kingdom Holding Co., and holds a 95 percent stake in the company. Kingdom Holding reported it owns a 6.6 percent share of Twenty-First Century Fox, according to a Feb. 4, 2015, corporate press release. (Kingdom Holding’s shares were worth approximately $1.7 billion when the press release was issued.)
The Fox News Channel is owned by Twenty-First Century Fox, which is a publicly owned company headed by Rupert Murdoch’s son, James, who is the chief executive officer and director. Rupert Murdoch is executive chairman of the Twenty-First Century Fox board.
An annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that as of June 30, 2015 the Murdoch Family Trust owned 39.1 percent of the Class B voting stock – a little less than it did in 2014. It does not mention other investors.
An earlier notice to Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., shareholders lists major investors as of February 2014. At that point, the Murdoch Family Trust owned 38.4 percent and Rupert Murdoch owned 39.4 percent of the Class B stock. The only other investor listed, at 6.6 percent, is Alwaleed.
In other words, Prince Alwaleed is a part owner of Fox News’ parent company. But it’s a minority share. He doesn’t own a controlling interest.
Although Trump retweeted the image on Jan. 28, it has been circulating around the web since at least August, when our fact-checking colleagues at Snopes.com first debunked it.
This isn’t the first time we have flagged a bogus retweet from Trump. In November, we wrote about a graphic Trump retweeted that purported to show the percentage of whites killed by blacks and other homicide data delineated by race. Almost every figure in the graphic was wrong.
Correction, Jan. 28: An earlier version of this story wrongly said the graphic purports to show Fox News host Megyn Kelly posing with Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and his wife. The graphic claims it is Alwaleed’s sister.