Fox News has stepped up its pressure on former anchor Tucker Carlson.
Axios has reported that the network, which fired Carlson at the end of April, has now sent him a cease-and-desist letter. They are claiming that the new show he has launched on Twitter is in breach of the contract he still has with them.
Carlson’s current contract with Fox News is set to run through the end of 2024, and he’s being paid per the terms of that agreement through that time. According to the Axios report, Carlson is claiming that he has a First Amendment right to launch his new program on Twitter.
As one of his lawyers, Harmeet Dhillon, said as part of a statement that was sent to Axios:
“Tucker will not be silenced by anyone. He is a singularly important voice on matters of public interest in our country, and will remain so.”
Fox News let Carlson go not long after the conservative network agreed to a $787.5 million settlement agreement with Dominion Voting Systems. That agreement did away with the nearly $1.5 billion defamation lawsuit the company filed against Fox News for comments made by its anchors around the 2020 presidential election that the network knew were incorrect.
Carlson was made a scapegoat of sorts by Fox News over the lawsuit. During the discovery phase of the process, some of Carlson’s personal text messages that he sent to other Fox News colleagues showed how much he disliked former President Donald Trump, even though he was supporting him on the air.
One message said, “I hate him passionately.”
Not long after he was let go by his former company, Carlson announced that he would be hosting a new show on the social media platform Twitter, called “Tucker on Twitter.” He has launched two episodes thus far, and they have garnered almost 170 million total views.
Carlson’s shows on Fox News involved him having guests on for interviews to go along with heavy graphics and opinions of his own. The first episodes of his new Twitter show have been mainly him giving monologues speaking directly to the camera about topics such as the Russian dam explosion to taboos in society.
Justin Wells, who served as the former executive producer of the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show on Fox News, is serving as the executive producer of his Twitter show. He has teased the next episode already, saying that it would include a response to Trump’s recent federal indictment.
So, it doesn’t appear at this point whether Carlson or the team producing his show, will be stopping anytime soon, despite the cease-and-desist letter being sent.
As Dhillon said in the statement:
“Fox News continues to ignore the interests of its viewers, not to mention its shareholder obligations. Doubling down on the most catastrophic programming decision in the history of the cable news industry, Fox is now demanding that Tucker Carlson be silent until after the 2024 election.”