Fox News accuses Tucker Carlson of breaching contract for launching Twitter show

The network argues that the former star host, who was fired in April, has violated their agreement, as his services are ‘completely exclusive’ to the channel

Tucker Carlson, during a talk in Washington in March 2019.
Tucker Carlson, during a talk in Washington in March 2019.Chip Somodevilla (Getty Images)

Fox News doesn’t want former host Tucker Carlson on the network, but it also doesn’t want him on any competing outlet or creating content for social media. The news channel has accused the former star presenter of violating his contract when he launched his own Twitter show, according to the news website Axios.

Axios has had access to a copy of the letter Fox lawyers sent to Tucker. “This evening, we were made aware of Mr. Tucker Carlson’s appearance on Twitter in a video that lasted over 10 minutes,” the letter read. The document continued by stating that under the agreement with Fox, Carlson’s services are “completely exclusive” to the network, which is owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

According to the letter, under the contract, Carlson 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.’”

Carlson’s lawyers told Axios that any legal action would violate his freedom of expression, adding that Twitter is not a direct competitor of Fox News. “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.

The former Fox News anchor was fired in April following the network’s settlement with Dominion Voting Systems over defamation charges. A month ago, Carlson announced in a three-minute Twitter video that he would soon launch a version of his Fox News show on the social network. The first episode of the show was a more than 10-minute long monologue, which was recorded with a wide-shot that showed he was operating his own teleprompter. In the monologue, he invoked conspiracy theories, discussed the war in Ukraine — he accused Kyiv of blowing up the Nova Kakhovka dam and criticized Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy — and talked about aliens.

Carlson was one of the Fox News presenters who discussed on air false claims that the 2020 presidential election had been rigged in favor of President Joe Biden. But private messages and group chats made public as part of the Dominion lawsuit showed that the Fox hosts and executives did not believe the lies about voter fraud. Fox News reached a $787.5 million settlement with Dominion to avoid going to trial.

The newspaper The Wall Street Journal — which is also controlled by Rupert Murdoch — reported that Carlson made $20 million a year at Fox News. According to Axios, Carlson accused Fox News of fraud and breach of contract after he was fired. The presenter’s contract runs until January 2025 and Fox wanted to keep paying him, in order to prevent him working for another channel.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get more English-language news coverage from EL PAÍS USA Edition

More information

Archived In

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS