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Fox Exec Uses Company Email to Arrange Aid for Loved Ones of Those Aboard Doomed Malaysian Jet — and She Gets Fired


"She wanted to do it because it could be done. So why not try?"

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - MARCH 31: A public member hold a candle during a candle light vigil to remember the victim of the ill-fated flight MH370 on March 30, 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Australian Defence vessel, Ocean Shield, departed for the missing flight MH370 search area from Perth today, equipped with special US Navy equipment designed to locate an aircrafts 'pinger' and black box. Several objects have been sighted in the Indian Ocean over the past few days, but none confirmed to be related to the missing airliner. The Malaysian airlines flight disappeared on March 8 with 239 passengers and crew on board and is suspected to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean. Rahman Roslan/Getty Images

Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

NEW YORK (AP) — A veteran Fox executive who used her company email account to plan aid for loved ones of passengers on the missing Malaysian jet has been fired — but she's not taking it lying down.

Darlene Tipton, formerly 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 began by emailing Sarah Bajc — an American whose boyfriend, Philip Wood, was a passenger on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 — who has made frequent TV appearances since the plane's March 8 disappearance.

A candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the ill-fated flight MH370 on March 30, 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Image source: Rahman Roslan/Getty Images)

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.

But Tipton plans to sue Fox for wrongful termination, said her husband, Ken Tipton, a writer and producer.

He added that the idea for his wife's 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?"

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."

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.

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