According to a recent report in The New York Times, Tucker Carlson’s dismissal from Fox News last month was precipitated by his private reflections on the societal trend toward violence and the schism dividing modern America.
According to a report from The New York Times, a text message from Tucker Carlson on January 8, 2021, the day after the Capitol intrusion, “set off a panic at the highest levels of Fox” as the company was facing a lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems.
The report claimed that Fox’s board of directors and even some senior executives were unaware of the text until April 16, citing “two people with knowledge of Fox’s internal deliberations.”
It stated that the board intended to hire outside legal counsel to investigate Carlson and what the report referred to as his “messages,” referring to other internal messages revealed during the discovery phase of Dominion’s defamation lawsuit.
The Times reports that Carlson’s message reads as follows:
“A couple of weeks ago, I was watching video of people fighting on the street in Washington. A group of Trump guys surrounded an Antifa kid and started pounding the living s*** out of him. It was three against one, at least. Jumping a guy like that is dishonorable obviously. It’s not how white men fight.
“Yet suddenly I found myself rooting for the mob against the man, hoping they’d hit him harder, kill him. I really wanted them to hurt the kid. I could taste it.”
According to the Times, Carlson stated that his cognitive process stepped in at that time.
“Then somewhere deep in my brain, an alarm went off: this isn’t good for me. I’m becoming something I don’t want to be. The Antifa creep is a human being. Much as I despise what he says and does, much as I’m sure I’d hate him personally if I knew him,” the text continued.
“I shouldn’t gloat over his suffering. I should be bothered by it. I should remember that somewhere somebody probably loves this kid, and would be crushed if he was killed. If I don’t care about those things, if I reduce people to their politics, how am I better than he is?” Carlson wrote, according to the report.
The Times said the text was redacted in court filings but its full contents “were disclosed in interviews with several people close to the defamation lawsuit against Fox.”
“The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a message that is protected by a court order,” the report said. “In public filings, it remains hidden behind a block of black text.”
Fox reached a settlement with Dominion on April 18. The termination of Carlson occurred on April 24. Fox has not disclosed the circumstances behind his termination.
During that time, if there was a sentiment within Fox to remove him, Carlson appeared to be oblivious of it. On the morning of his dismissal, he was reportedly preparing for his program, which he signed off on as usual on April 21.
The Times’s article elicited a passionate reaction on Twitter.
Fox News leaking to the left-wing New York Times to smear Tucker Carlson isn't just an attack on Tucker, it's an attack on all of his fans and conservatives everywhere!
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 3, 2023
This is a beautiful, honest, self-critical & deeply compassionate anecdote from a man we would all be blessed to consider a friend or family member. The libs know that. They’re triggered because Tucker is humble & his moral integrity makes them feel deeply inadequate & ashamed. pic.twitter.com/QCHB2xS23P
— Aimee Terese (@aimeeterese) May 3, 2023
Wow. I literally cannot believe that Tucker Carlson…
… saw the humanity in an Antifa guy getting beat up. pic.twitter.com/Lj3DS86ggw
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) May 3, 2023
The only thing shocking about this text message is that it's way more thoughtful and interesting than the average text message https://t.co/D6No6LT9iI
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) May 3, 2023
The Times said the message “played a role in the company’s decision to settle with Dominion for $787.5 million, the highest known payout in a defamation case.” It did not elaborate.
Fox and Carlson did not respond to the Times’ requests for comment on its report.