Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson said he’d be back, announcing in May that his new program would be exclusively on Twitter.
As Julio wrote yesterday, the first episode premiered last night. It’s garnered over 91 million views, surpassed over 191,000 retweets, and accumulated over 709,000 likes. Mr. Carlson is back, but his former employer doesn’t seem pleased.
Fox News is threatening a lawsuit, claiming breach of contract.
According to Axios, Carlson’s lawyers are going to argue that no breach of contract occurred since Twitter doesn’t compete with Fox News (via Axios):
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) June 6, 2023
SCOOP: Fox News Wednesday notified Tucker Carlson’s lawyers that the former prime-time anchor violated his contract with the network when he launched his own Twitter show on Tuesday, according to a copy of a letter obtained by Axios. https://t.co/hTzMrUz6AQ
— Axios (@axios) June 7, 2023
Fox News notified Tucker Carlson’s lawyers today that the former prime-time anchor violated his contract with the network when he launched his own Twitter show yesterday, according to a copy of a letter obtained by Axios’ Sara Fischer.
Why it matters: A breach of contract claim sets Fox up to explore legal action against Carlson, a move that would intensify the already thorny public battle between the two parties.
Carlson’s lawyers told Axios that any legal action by Fox 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,” said Carlson’s lawyer, Bryan Freedman, in a statement to Axios.
Catch up quick: Carlson was ousted from Fox News in April.
Carlson, Axios reported, has since 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.”
Between the lines: Carlson’s legal team, according to a source familiar with its thinking, objects to the network’s effort to block Carlson’s Twitter appearances because, they believe, Twitter does not directly compete with Fox News.
Carlson was one of the first casualties of the Dominion Voting Systems settlement. Fox paid the election machine manufacturer $787 million after the former slapped the network with a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit. The company was targeted for allegedly being part of the plot to tilt the 2020 election in Joe Biden’s favor. The case was set to trial, with Fox News opting to settle hours before opening arguments.
Why Carlson was let go is up for grabs. Some say it was over editorial decisions, while another narrative is that Rupert Murdoch personally greenlit the move to dismiss Carlson over his January 6 segments. Whatever the reason, Carlson split with the network and is reportedly ready to go DEFCON 1 against Fox should it be deemed necessary.
Carlson was under contract by Fox until after the 2024 election, and there’s no way he would sit there quietly through a critical presidential election.