A lawyer for Tucker Carlson has issued a response after reports claimed that Fox News sent a letter accusing Carlson of violating his contract by launching his own Twitter show this week.
“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,” Carlson’s lawyer, Bryan Freedman, said in a June 7 statement to Axios, appearing to confirm reports that Fox News notified Carlson’s lawyers about a possible contract violation.
A letter was sent by Fox News’ counsel, Bernard Gugar, to Carlson’s attorneys stating that he now “is in breach” of his contract with Fox News after he premiered the first episode of his new Twitter show, “Tucker on Twitter,” on June 6. The first installment has generated more than 100 million views on the social media platform.
“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 from Gugar reads, according to Axios.
The Epoch Times couldn’t verify the authenticity of the contents of the letter.
“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, appearing to quote Carlson’s contract.
The letter further stipulated that Carlson’s contract states that 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.’”
About a month ago, Fox News issued a statement saying it had parted ways with Carlson for unclear reasons. Neither Fox nor Carlson has publicly commented on the split, although Carlson hinted in a video last month that he may have reported on topics that the company’s management disagreed with.
As of June 8, neither Carlson nor Fox News has issued public comments about the letter sent to the former host’s lawyers. Fox News and Freedman didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times about the letter.
In the one month after Carlson’s exit, Fox News has seen its primetime ratings slump, according to Nielsen. But Fox is still the No. 1-rated cable news channel overall, a spokesperson for the company recently pointed out in a statement to The Epoch Times.
With the recent drop in ratings, a conservative-led boycott could be devastating for Fox. Multiple major brands targeted for boycotts, including Target and Bud Light maker Anheuser-Busch, have seen their shares plummet in recent weeks.
Target’s stock has dropped by about 16 percent in the past month, while sales of Bud Light have posted year-over-year declines for consecutive weeks starting in early April. Target was criticized for selling LGBT products for children, while Bud Light received backlash for its decision to produce a beer can with a transgender influencer’s face on it.
Representatives for Fox News didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment on the recent calls to boycott the channel.
Calls for Boycott
After the Axios report was published on June 7 about Fox’s demand letter, some conservative influencers and journalists issued calls for a boycott while criticizing Fox News.
Longtime journalist Glenn Greenwald, who had frequently appeared on Carlson’s former Fox News show, wrote that “this is pathetic of Fox,” noting that “they fired Carlson, and now their position is: he’s not allowed to speak.”
“He didn’t go to a competing network. He has no contract with Twitter. He’s just speaking on social media. And to Fox, that’s cause to threaten to sue him. They want him quiet,” Greenwald wrote on Twitter.
“Ideology played a big role in Carlson’s firing. He was increasingly at odds with GOP establishment dogma. His primary targets, besides CIA/FBI, were the Mitch McConnells and Lindsey Grahams, along with Biden’s Ukraine war policy. Fox wants to re-boost the GOP establishment.”
Another major conservative account, Rogan O’Handley, or “DC Draino,” suggested that Fox News viewers boycott the channel: “They claim it’s a breach of contract. Maybe we boycott Fox News until they stop trying to silence one of the biggest voices before the 2024 election?”
Responding to the development, commentator Jason Whitlock wrote, “I have not turned on Fox News since the last day of Tucker’s show. I will not turn on Fox News ever again. Channel doesn’t exist to me. It’s not an option. I don’t watch much TV other than live sports. I watch old movies on Amazon Prime. Maybe once a week I turn on CNN. I get my news from Twitter. I’m shocked to say that. But this is where I stay up to date.”
And Patrick Byrne, founder of Overstock.com, wrote: “Boycott Fox News.”