Tucker Carlson is back and unfiltered, without any oversight from his previous employer.
The popular news entertainment host made a re-appearance in his first show as an independent commentator on Twitter last Tuesday night.
Fox News is not one to lie down and take almost a 50 percent ratings hit during what used to be the most popular hour in cable news quietly.
According to a report from Axios, the conservative network told Carlson’s lawyers Wednesday that the former star anchor breached his contract with his just-over ten-minute debut in which Carlson provided commentary on the destruction of the Kakhovka damn in southern Ukraine.
Fox News general counsel Bernard Gugar said the broadcaster was “in breach” of his contract, which was signed in November 2019 and amended in February 2021. His current contract is not set to expire until 2025, according to reports.
The letter from Gugar stated, “Pursuant to the terms of the Agreement, Mr. Carlson’s ‘services shall be completely exclusive to Fox.’”
It adds that Carlson’s contract says he is “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.'”
This leaves Carlson vulnerable to legal action from his old employer, a move that would intensify the scuffle between the two in a likely very public way, given Tucker’s new platform.
He’s already tried to undermine the network’s credibility, insinuating that it is guilty of twisting the truth. In his first public statement on Twitter, after the network ousted Carlson from his number one prime-time spot, Carlson specified:
“You often hear people say the news is full of lies. But most of the time that’s not exactly right. Much of what you see on television … could pass one of the media’s own ‘fact checks.’ But that doesn’t make it true. At the most basic level the news you consume is a lie … a lie of the stealthiest and most insidious kind. You are being manipulated.”
After he was given the boot, Carlson seemed to accuse 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.”
His 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. Apparently, a member of Fox’s board claimed the lawsuit was part of the reason for Carlson’s dismissal. Fox has been clear that it denies this.
After the breach of contract letter reached Carlson’s attorneys, they told Axios that any legal action by Fox would violate his First Amendment rights.
Bryan Freedman, Carlson’s lawyer stated:
“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.”
Freedman also defended former Fox News host Megyn Kelly in her suit against NBC in 2019 after they fired her.
Carlson’s team may be pegging their case on the claim that, as a social media platform, Twitter is not in direct competition with Fox News.
Carlson’s Return Episode
In traditional Carlson style, the anchor questioned the mainstream narrative that Ukraine was a completely innocent victim in the catastrophe that forced over 40,000 Russian and Ukraine citizens to evacuate their homes downstream of the dam.
Carlson seemed perfectly calm to me. While maybe not all agree with his analyses, it’s nice to know that analyses can still be heard.
Anne Applebaum, staff writer at the Atlantic and “historian of authoritarianism” (according to the Guardian) was quick to blame Carlson for Fox’s settlement with Dominion voting systems and said he would likely take Twitter down, too.
“Tucker Carlson’s lies cost Fox $800 million. Now he is still lying, and Twitter will eventually pay the price too.”
Interesting, considering Tucker’s ten-minute monologue on Twitter had more views than even his prime-time show on Fox. Over 110 million as of the end of the week. Not exactly a prime example of something that “does not work.”
Jennifer Galardi is the politics and culture editor for 19Fortyfive, writing opinion columns for the publication. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and hosts the podcast Connection with conversations that address health, culture, politics, and policy. In a previous life, she wrote for publications in the health, fitness, and nutrition space. In addition, her pieces have been published in the Epoch Times and Pepperdine Policy Review. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.