Tucker Carlson Fired from Fox News Amidst Dominion Lawsuit and Controversial Comments
Tucker Carlson, the former host of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, has been fired from the network after it was revealed that his private messages were among thousands of internal communications made public in Dominion’s lawsuit against Fox News for airing false claims that the company had conspired to rig the 2020 presidential election. The lawsuit resulted in a historic $787.5 million defamation settlement that caused angst and embarrassment for Fox and heightened the company’s legal jeopardy. Allegations surrounding Carlson’s staff culture and comments about Fox colleagues, revealed in the Dominion case, are also believed to have played roles in his sudden departure from the network.
Carlson had been at the heart of false 2020 election claims and Fox’s very embarrassing dispute with Dominion Voting Systems. A series of texts and other internal correspondence from Carlson, as well as other Fox hosts such as Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, proved crucial to Dominion’s scathing defamation case against Fox over Donald Trump’s insistence that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
The decision to fire Carlson came as a surprise to everyone, including Carlson himself and people at the network. During his final primetime broadcast on Friday, Carlson did not indicate any intentions of departing. Additionally, the network was actively promoting Carlson's unreleased interview with GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy as recently as Monday morning. Even Fox News seemed uncertain about Carlson's departure until just before the official announcement. Reportedly, on Monday morning, previews of Carlson's show for that evening were still being broadcasted on the channel, but eventually, the show was not aired.
Carlson has a history of being fired from jobs, having left CNN in 2005 and MSNBC in 2008. On both occasions, he was fired after his shows Crossfire and Tucker were cancelled due to poor ratings. Carlson did not have this issue at Fox News, where he was the most-watched anchor.
According to reports by the LA Times, Rupert Murdoch, the chair of Fox Corp, was responsible for the dismissal of Carlson. The reason behind this decision reportedly stems from a lawsuit filed by a former employee and Carlson's on-air statements that Ray Epps, a participant in the January 6 riots, was an FBI informant, which the FBI refutes. On the eve of Carlson's dismissal, Epps gave an interview to 60 Minutes where he expressed that Carlson's remarks resulted in death threats. However, according to a New York Times report published on Wednesday, the straw that may have broken the camel’s back may have been a number of private texts sent by Carlson that Fox leadership only learned of the day before the trial was set to kick off. According to two individuals who are familiar with the messages, the content of which has been redacted in legal documents, they surpass the already offensive statements made by Carlson on air. Buried in the cache were several instances where he used the c-word to refer to women. According to an individual with insider knowledge of the redacted messages, The Times was informed that leadership found one of the messages to be particularly offensive. According to various sources, the executives coming across the texts played a pivotal role in Carlson's dismissal, despite him receiving no explanation for his termination.
There is widespread speculation surrounding Carlson's departure, but concrete details have not yet emerged. The decision to cancel Mr. Carlson's show was influenced by private messages in which he displayed disrespect towards his colleagues and management, according to The Wall Street Journal. Similarly, Rolling Stone reports that Fox possesses a collection of alleged unflattering information about Carlson, which they may use against him if he pursues legal action against them. The Financial Times has a similar take, though it also argues that Fox was offended by the way Carlson described voting fraud fantasist Sidney Powell.
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