Sunday, April 20, 2014
NEW YORK (AP) — A veteran Fox executive who used her company email account to plan aid for loved ones of the missing Malaysian airplane's passengers has been fired.
Darlene Tipton, who was vice president of standards and practices for the Fox Cable Networks Group, said Saturday she had wanted to arrange swift financial aid to families and other loved ones, sparing them lengthy court fights. She said she began by emailing Sarah Bajc, an American whose boyfriend, Philip Wood, was a passenger on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and who has made frequent TV appearances since the plane's March 8 disappearance.
Fox spokesman Scott Grogin said Tipton's "conduct and communications" violated company policy. Citing privacy concerns, he declined to discuss particulars, but he said, "As soon as we became aware, we took appropriate steps." He confirmed that Tipton has left the company.
Tipton was with Fox for a quarter-century before her April 9 dismissal. She said she plans to continue with her initiative, soliciting contributions through the crowdfunding website GoFundMe.
"We want to raise money for families, to give them immediate relief," Tipton said during a phone interview from her Los Angeles home. "Otherwise, they could be in court for years."
A condition of accepting the money she hopes to raise: Recipients must waive the right to seek legal remedy.
"If they're getting money through contributions," she said, "it isn't right for them to seek money through legal channels, too."
But she plans to sue Fox for wrongful termination, said her husband, Ken Tipton, a writer and producer.
He said the idea for the fundraising effort stemmed from his Los Angeles hospital stay last month, shortly after the plane disappeared. He said that while he was under medication he had hallucinations of being with the plane's passengers and the power of his visions spurred him and his wife to try to help.
"She wanted to do it because it could be done," he said. "So why not try?"
The investigation into what happened to Flight 370, a Boeing 777 that was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board, continued Saturday with searches of a patch of the Indian Ocean seabed.
Tipton's firing was first reported by Christine Negroni in her blog Flying Lessons.