July 9, 2011 / 2:33 AM / 8 years ago

Murdoch hosts film screening amid hacking scandal

Rupert Murdoch, Australian-American media mogul and the chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, arrives at the Sun Valley Inn before the start of the second day of the Allen and Company Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho July 7, 2011. REUTERS/Anthony Bolante

SUN VALLEY, Idaho (Reuters) - A crisis has erupted at media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s London newspapers, but that didn’t stop the News Corp. chief executive and his wife, Wendi, from hosting a screening of a new movie co-produced by Mrs. Murdoch.

About 100 invited guests attended the screening of “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” at the Sun Valley Opera House, on the grounds of the resort where the annual Allen & Co. media conference is in full swing.

The screening was long-planned, and Murdoch stuck to his hosting duties, despite a deepening phone hacking scandal that led him to close his News of the World tabloid and threatens his other British operations including his takeover bid for broadcaster BSkyB.

Murdoch and his wife, who mingled with guests, seemed relaxed and engaged, said a guest.

The media baron’s London-based son James Murdoch, deputy chief operating officer of News Corp, is taking the lead on handling the crisis over journalists’ hacking into the voice mails of thousands of people from celebrities and newsmakers to the families of deceased soldiers and the phone of a dead girl.

Two sources familiar with the elder Murdoch’s plans told Reuters he will fly to London on Saturday to deal with the escalating crisis that has engulfed his British newspapers.

Also in Sun Valley, where the Allen & Co. meeting becomes an annual retreat for many of the world’s leading media executives, is another Murdoch son, Lachlan, formerly a News Corp. executive and now executive chairman of Australia-based investment company Illyria Pty Ltd.

The movie, based on a critically acclaimed book, tells the tale of a friendship between two people. It will be released later this month. News Corp. also owns the 20th Century Fox movie studio in Los Angeles.

Reporting by Sarah McBride; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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