According to a new report, the settlement between Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems prompted Fox News to remove Tucker Carlson from the air.
Dominion had filed a lawsuit against Fox News for its coverage of claims made about Dominion’s apparatus after the 2020 presidential election.
On Tuesday, April 18, just before the lawsuit’s jury trial was scheduled to commence, a $787,500,000 settlement was announced. On Monday, April 24, less than a week later, as Carlson prepared for his program that evening, he was informed that it had been canceled.
Due to the proximity of the two events, initial speculation linked them.
According to a report in Variety, Fox News made an implicit vow to Dominion to fire Carlson.
Tatiana Siegel of Variety wrote, citing “multiple sources with knowledge of the conversation,” that Carlson learned the reason his program was terminated on April 26 from a Fox News board member.
The unnamed board member informed Carlson that his dismissal was a condition of the settlement, but it was not included in the official court documents.
According to the Variety report, Dominion allegedly informed Fox that if it refused to fire Carlson, the settlement would be voided and Fox News would have to face a jury trial.
According to the report, Fox News wished to avoid trial in order to prevent “more embarrassing details about the operation of Fox News and fallout from its 2020 president election coverage.”
According to the report, as Carlson understood the situation, Dominion intended to inflict long-term harm on Fox News and anticipated that by blacking out the network’s most popular program, Fox News would lose viewers.
“That condition was intended to hurt Fox, and Tucker is just collateral damage. Dominion wanted to punish Fox, and it’s working,” Siegel wrote, citing what she called “a source familiar with the matter.”
Dominion and Fox Corp. dispute the claim made in the report.
“As the Fox principals who negotiated the settlement well know, Dominion made no demands about Tucker Carlson’s employment orally or in writing. Any claims otherwise are categorically false and a thinly veiled effort to further damage Dominion. Fox should take every effort to stop these lies immediately,” Dominion said in a statement.
Axios also reported that a member of Fox’s board told Tucker Carlson that the Dominion settlement was the cause for his departure.
If the public reporting is accurate that Dominion Voting Systems demanded that Tucker Carlson be fired as part of a litigation settlement, then I am happy that Dominion does not operate in Texas, and I don’t think that they should do so in the future. We may disagree with other’s…
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 13, 2023
According to Siegel’s report, Fox could be further harmed if it opposes Carlson’s stated intention to begin his own program on Twitter.
The report cited one of its sources as saying Carlson would sue or “watch the network implode attempting to challenge free speech.”
Carlson’s attorneys have already accused Fox of disclosing unseen footage with the intention of making Carlson appear bad, which, according to them, releases Carlson from any contractual obligations with Fox. Even though Carlson is still being paid by Fox, they argue that he is free to strike out on his own.
Siegel’s report speculated that if Fox sues Tucker Carlson, more embarrassing text messages from the network’s presenters could emerge. The report also suggests that some Fox anchors have told Carlson directly or indirectly that they may follow him to Twitter when their contracts with Fox News expire.
With neither Fox News nor Carlson speaking publicly about the reasons why Carlson was placed in media stasis, numerous alternative explanations have been proposed.
According to a report in The New York Times, Carlson’s dismissal from Fox News was precipitated by his private reflections on the role of violence and polarization in modern America.
Carlson has reportedly stated that he believes his program was canceled and he was dismissed because the Murdoch family intends to sell Fox News. The report cited unidentified sources. Rupert Murdoch, the proprietor of Fox News, has appointed his son Lachlan the CEO of Fox Corp., the parent company of Fox News.
Gabriel Sherman claimed in a second Vanity Fair article that Rupert Murdoch wanted Tucker Carlson gone due to the former host’s public adoption of religious views similar to those of his ex-fiancee, Ann Lesley Smith.