According to a report from the Daily Caller, a phone conversation between Fox News Chief Legal Counsel Viet Dinh and Tucker Carlson has allegedly taken center stage in his lawsuit against the network.
On May 3, Viet Dinh reportedly contacted a close associate of Tucker Carlson and asked for a message to be relayed to the former Fox News host. Dinh expressed regret for the way events transpired in the days and weeks following Carlson’s termination. In addition, Dinh stated that the network was not responsible for the disclosures of behind-the-scenes footage from Carlson’s Fox career.
The Daily Caller also reported that Dinh disclosed that Fox News’ director of public relations, Irena Briganti, had been threatened with termination if she was discovered releasing footage. Dinh provided these details.
Specifically, Dinh revealed that Fox executives are concerned that an unauthorized board of directors member has been speaking to the media about Tucker Carlson.
🚨EXCLUSIVE🚨 from @briannalyman2
Fox News Lawyer's Phone Call Is At The Center Of Tucker's Breach Of Contract Case https://t.co/bFxuGRmhq2
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) May 19, 2023
The Daily Caller quoted Bryan Freedman, Carlson’s attorney, as saying that the disclosures comprised a “smear campaign.”
“It strains credulity that, immediately after agreeing to pay almost $780 million to settle serious allegations of misconduct that a member of Fox’s Board of Directors would be engaging in an attempted smear campaign by illegally leaking information about Tucker Carlson,” Freedman said. “However, we have to trust that it is true when the Chief Legal Officer informs Tucker that he believes it to be the case.”
Carlson stated in a letter sent earlier this month by his attorneys that he had previously accused the network of violating his contract. The letter, according to Axios, alleges that Fox committed fraud against Carlson by making “material representations” to him that were then fraudulently breached. “These actions not only breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing in the Agreement, but give rise to claims for breach of contract, as well as intentional and negligent misrepresentation,” Carlson’s attorneys reportedly stated.
Carlson’s private text messages and behind-the-scenes footage of him joking with staff members prior to filming his program were disclosed to the public.
The Daily Caller contacted Briganti to inquire whether Fox News was investigating internal board of director disclosures. Daily Caller also questioned Briganti regarding her alleged threat of termination. At the time of publication, the Daily Caller was unable to reach Dinh by phone at both his work and personal numbers. (Disclaimer: Carlson is a co-founder of the Daily Caller.)
Brigante declared these allegations “categorically false” and forwarded two letters from Fox’s legal team to the Caller. One letter was a cease and desist to Media Matters, which was known for tarnishing conservatives with false articles and edited recordings. Media Matters had published a number of Tucker behind-the-scenes footage and was notorious for smearing conservatives with false articles and edited recordings. The second was a letter from Fox News to Dominion in which the company was accused of disclosing information obtained during the discovery phase of the litigation, an allegation that Dominion has publicly refuted.
The letters from Fox News, which were made public a few weeks ago, have been criticized as an attempt to transfer blame for the disclosures away from the struggling brand. Fox has suffered tremendously as a result of the cancellation of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
The initial broadcast of “Fox News Tonight,” which replaced Tucker Carlson’s program, experienced a decline in viewers in the crucial 25-to-54-year-old demographic. Brian Kilmeade’s show drew only 1,3 million viewers on the same night as MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, who attracted 1,38 million. Things deteriorated from there. With an average of 3.25 million viewers, Tucker Carlson’s program was the second-most-watched cable news program, trailing only Fox’s “The Five.”
Others took a more aggressive posture and furiously canceled their Fox Nation subscriptions.
During this time, Carlson has received support from former NFL quarterback Brett Favre, who has advocated for a boycott of Fox News.
“Time to boycott Fox until they come to their sense and let the man speak,” Favre posted to Twitter.
Megyn Kelly, a former Fox News personality, also spoke out in support of Tucker Carlson, alleging that Fox was attempting to stifle him and imploring him to terminate his contract in order to regain access to his audience.
As a result of declining ratings since the departure of Tucker Carlson, Fox News is reportedly presently considering “multiple scenarios” for its primetime schedule.
A recent report from Variety suggested that Sean Hannity would move to the 8 p.m. time slot and that Jesse Watters and Greg Gutfeld could be added to the lineup.
“No decision has been made on a new primetime line-up and there are multiple scenarios under consideration,” Fox said in a statement Wednesday, according to Variety.
However, it’s possible that even a primetime makeover won’t be sufficient to save Fox News. An April 28–May 2 survey of 404 probable Republican primary voters for 2024 indicated that Carlson had a net favorability of 59% and Fox News had a net favorability of –4%.