Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson debuted the first edition of his Twitter show this Tuesday to critical acclaim — except from Fox News.
Carlson’s former employer responded to the episode by notifying his lawyers that he’d violated his still-active contract with the network.
“Shortly after Carlson posted the first episode of his new show on Twitter Tuesday evening, Fox News general counsel Bernard Gugar sent a letter to Carlson’s lawyers saying Carlson ‘is in breach’ of his contract agreement,” according to Axios.
“This evening we were made aware of Mr. Tucker Carlson’s appearance on Twitter in a video that lasted over 10 minutes. Pursuant to the terms of the Agreement, Mr. Carlson’s ‘services shall be completely exclusive to Fox,'” the letter reads.
— BPR based (@DumpstrFireNews) June 7, 2023
It adds that Carlson’s contract says he’s “prohibited from rendering services of any type whatsoever, whether ‘over the internet via streaming or similar distribution, or other digital distribution whether now known or hereafter devised.'”
“In connection with such breach and pursuant to the Agreement, Fox expressly reserves all rights and remedies which are available to it at law or equity,” the letter continues.
According to Axios, which broke the story, all this matters because it “sets Fox News up to explore potential legal action against Carlson.” In other words, it opens the door to Fox News potentially suing him.
However, Carlson isn’t taking this lying down.
In a statement to Axios, his lawyers said any legal action would violate his First Amendment rights.
“Fox defends its very existence on freedom of speech grounds. Now they want to take Tucker Carlson’s right to speak freely away from him because he took to social media to share his thoughts on current events,” attorney Bryan Freedman said.
All this comes two months after Carlson was unceremoniously fired from Fox News after the network settled with Dominion Voting Systems for $787 million.
Since then, Carlson has “accused Fox of fraud and has argued that Fox breached his contract when its senior executives reneged on promises made to Carlson ‘intentionally and with reckless disregard for the truth,'” according to Axios.
“Carlson’s lawyers also argued Fox broke its promise to Carlson not to settle with Dominion Voting Systems ‘in a way which would indicate wrongdoing’ on the part of the former host,” Axios notes.
Regarding Carlson’s Twitter shows, his lawyers have also argued that Twitter isn’t directly competitive with cable news, meaning his new show should pose no threat whatsoever to Fox News.
As for Fox News, a source told Axios that the network genuinely believes it’s been acting in good faith toward Carlson. But the popular commenter’s fans staunchly disagree:
@FoxNews sidelining Tucker just to strip him of his 1st Amendment rights is in bad faith and a really terrible look.
— Sarah Le Chat (@TNVoteRed777) June 7, 2023
This was inevitable. Fox chose to bench Carlson, and now is complaining that he’s trying to work. Restraint of trade laws work in a good faith context. But fail where one party acts in bad faith.
— The Egalitarian – #DissDisinfo (@KevinBi14963560) June 8, 2023
No. I would say that at this stage, Fox News is not acting in good faith and I would like to hear them explain why they want him sidelined until 2025. Fox News cannot silence someone because they want Biden to win the Presidency. It sounds an awful lot like Strzok and Page.
— Mary Martis (@MaryMartis4) June 7, 2023
“A source told Axios that Fox believes it has been working in good faith to reach an amicable agreement.”
— Stop the Socialists (@_StopSocialists) June 8, 2023
Fox News’ critics may have a point.
Axios notes that one of its sources said Carlson was told by a senior Fox News executive that the network’s overarching goal is to keep him sidelined — i.e., shut him up — through the 2024 presidential election.
The irony is that Carlson’s forced departure from Fox News may ultimately end with the silencing of the mainstream media.
Indeed, following Carlson’s ouster in April, left-of-center commentator Russell Brand predicted that it could just signal the beginning of the end for the legacy media if the former Fox News host were to reboot himself independently.
“Tucker Carlson has left Fox News, and I see this as a great harbinger — the beginning of the end for the mainstream. A mainstream media that’s been reduced to packaging and selling your data. They do it more than even porn sites. Check those facts for yourself,” Brand said.
“A mainstream media that siphons us off into silos, turns us against one another, plays to the gallery, preaches to the converted, has got nothing original to say, and serves the government rather than the public they were set up to inform,” he added.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) April 29, 2023
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