You might think that competing with your sibling for your parents’ affection is rough. Or even, you might watch Succession, the HBO show about wealthy siblings competing for power at a media empire run by their father, and think, “Damn, this dynamic is awful.” But thanks to a new report by The New York Times Magazine, we now know that whatever rivalry exists between any other siblings is nothing compared to that of the Murdoch brothers.
Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has six children, including four adults: Prudence, 61; Elisabeth, 50; and brothers Lachlan, 47; and James, 46. Per the Times, the latter three were essentially raised to compete for power at Rupert’s empire, which has led to family dynamics of Survivor-esque alliances, competition, and manipulation. But Lachlan and James appear to have the fiercest rivalry of the group.
According to the Times, Lachlan and James keep on changing roles between “heir apparent and jilted son,” though it’s common knowledge that Rupert usually seems to prefer Lachlan. At one point, per the Times, Lachlan briefly left the company and James was poised to take over. However, when he decided to come back in 2015, Rupert put Lachlan in charge and had James report to him. Per the Times:
James was livid. The two brothers and their father had explicitly discussed succession not even two years earlier. James was supposed to take over, and Lachlan would never assume more than a symbolic role. … Angry and appalled, James threatened to quit, heading straight from lunch to the airport for a flight to Indonesia.
The report is a must-read investigation into a family that has played a huge role in the current state of the world — and also makes your awkward family dinners look incredibly tame.