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Fox News demands that Tucker Carlson stop posting videos on Twitter

Tucker Carlson
Tucker Carlson speaks during the Mathias Corvinus Collegium Feszt in 2021 in Esztergom, Hungary.
(Janos Kummer / Getty Images)
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Controversial news personality Tucker Carlson posted his second video on Twitter last week, and Fox News has had enough.

The network has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Carlson’s attorneys, claiming the videos are in violation of Carlson’s contract with Fox News Media, one of his attorneys said on Twitter.

Fox News declined to comment, but a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly confirmed the action, which was first reported by Axios.

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Carlson’s program was canceled April 24, a week after the Rupert Murdoch-controlled network paid $787.5 million to settle a defamation suit filed by Dominion Voting Systems. But the right-wing commentator is still getting paid by Fox News.

The company believes it can keep him off TV and digital platforms over the length of the contract, which runs through 2024, according to people familiar with the details of his deal who were not authorized to speak publicly. The contract pays Carlson more than $15 million a year, according to sources.

Fox News declined to comment.

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Carlson announced his Twitter program on May 9, although Elon Musk’s company has no business arrangement with the host. He has posted two short-form videos, giving monologues from his home.

Tucker Carlson, a fixture on conservative cable channel Fox News, exited the network on April 24.

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Carlson’s attorney Harmeet Dhillon said in a statement that the action by Fox News is an attempt to suppress the host’s views.

“Fox News continues to ignore the interests of its viewers, not to mention its shareholder obligations,” Dhillon said. “Doubling down on the most catastrophic programming decision in the history of the cable news industry, Fox is now demanding that Tucker Carlson be silent until after the 2024 election.

“Tucker will not be silenced by anyone,” she added.

TV news business agents say privately that Carlson’s attorneys have an uphill climb in trying to free Carlson to pursue other media opportunities. They said Carlson would likely have to give up all or some of his compensation from Fox News in order to be available for another next TV or digital project.

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Lou Dobbs, the former Fox News Business host also named in the Dominion suit, had his program canceled in early 2021. The network continued to honor his $5 million a year contract and he was unable to take his services elsewhere.

Dhillon did not respond to a request for comment.

Carlson — known for his inflammatory comments about race and immigration — was the top-rated prime-time host at Fox News before he was taken off the air.

Sources told The Times that Carlson’s exit was tied to a discrimination lawsuit filed by Abby Grossberg, a producer who was fired by the network. She alleged that she was bullied and subjected to antisemitic comments when she worked on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” Fox News has denied the claim.

Murdoch made the call to oust Carlson.

The former host figured in the Dominion case against Fox News, which accused the conservative network of knowingly making false claims about the voting equipment company and its role in the 2020 presidential election.

The evidence and depositions in the Dominion case revealed texts by Carlson that were critical of Fox News correspondents who fact-checked the unfounded election fraud claims on the network, even though it was revealed that he did not believe them himself.

Fox News has suffered a ratings loss since Carlson departed its prime-time schedule. His 8 p.m. Eastern hour was renamed “Fox News Tonight.” The rotation of hosts who have appeared have pulled in about 50% of the 3 million-plus viewers that Carlson averaged each night, according to Nielsen data.

While some viewers have moved to the smaller right-wing competitor Newsmax, Fox News has maintained its status as the most-watched cable news channel.

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