Hundreds of protesters marched along the Upper East Side of New York this afternoon, and the first stop on their route was Rupert Murdoch’s apartment building.
Tuesday’s “Millionaire’s March”—coordinated by the groups Strong Economy for All Coalition, the Working Families Party, New York Communities for Change, and UnitedNY—attracted much of the crowd, and momentum, that has been generated by the ongoing Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in lower Manhattan. However, this protest targeted a handful of the city’s wealthiest and the state tax break they're due to receive at the end of the year, and moved the demonstration to their homes.
The crowd gathered on 59th Street on the outskirts of Central Park, across from the Plaza Hotel. The demonstration stretched a few city blocks long by the time the protesters reached their first destination: 834 Fifth Avenue, Murdoch’s residence. Under the green awning at the News Corp. chief's house, the assembly chanted, “Hey Murdoch, pay your fair share.”
Liz Sanchez, a representative for the Coalition for Educational Justice, spoke into a bullhorn right outside the front door of Murdoch’s building. “Mr. Murdoch paid $44 million for his apartment, and we the 99 percent of New York State are giving him a tax break. Is that fair?” said Sanchez. She also told the masses gathered that Murdoch stands to gain a $330,000 tax break from New York State under the state's reverted income tax structure. (Come Dec. 31, New York will move to a single 6.85 percent income tax rate for all households making more than $40,000 a year.)
At the rally, feelings about Murdoch’s politics, and not just his finances, were on display. “Rupert Murdoch is emblematic of the manipulation of politics and message delivered by Fox News—and people who use New York as their kingdom, but don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes,” Jonathan Tasini told Adweek. Tasini is the president of the Economic Future Group; he's also known for his unsuccessful 2006 primary challenge to then-Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Harry Waisbren, a protester from Wisconsin and a social media analyst for the Job Party, held a large sign that read, “Rupert Murdoch: The billionaire owns five passports and uses lax regulations to consolidate his hold over the media.” When asked by Adweek why—out of all the high-profile moguls in New York—protesters chose to focus on Rupert Murdoch, Waisbren said, “Fox News is leading class warfare against working families.”