Fox News and Tucker Carlson have parted ways. The rest of the network seems thrilled.
“Pure joy,” one Fox reporter told Rolling Stone of their reaction to the split. “No one is untouchable. It’s a great day for America, and for the real journalists who work hard every day to deliver the news at Fox.”
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“It was a good move to part ways with Tucker,” added a producer. “He knowingly spread lies throughout his time at Fox, but I fear management will replace him with someone who is just like him … so there probably won’t be any real change.”
“Good riddance,” said a network correspondent. “For a while there it seemed like he was running the network. This clearly is a message that he’s not. In the interim, it’s a morale boost, that’s for sure.”
Fox announced the move in a press release on Monday. “Fox News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways,” the statement read. “We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.” Carlson, who renewed his contract in 2021 and was paid about $20 million a year, will be paid out for the rest of his contract, sources told the Wall Street Journal.
Harris Faulkner announced the move on air, essentially reading the press release but adding that the parting was “mutual,” although multiple outlets have reported that Carlson wasn’t informed that he’d lost his show until Monday morning. Fox said in its announcement that Carlson’s last program was last Friday and that Fox News Tonight will begin airing in Carlson’s old time slot until a new host is named.
The split comes a week after Fox settled a defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million. Dominion sued the network in 2021 for pushing a false narrative about the company’s involvement in a nonexistent scheme to rig the election. Court filings revealed that Carlson and other prominent hosts knew the network couldn’t substantiate the conspiracy theory. They continued to push it anyway, with Carlson inviting MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell on in the weeks following the Capitol riot to spew more lies about Dominion and the election.
Abby Grossberg, a former Carlson producer who alleged she was coached to give misleading testimony in her deposition for the Dominion case, filed her own lawsuit against the network, alleging Carlson’s senior staff regularly held discussions about women in sexist terms, often invoking the term “cunt.”
Semafor reported that Carlson’s executive producer, Justin Wells, is also no longer with the network. Wells was also named in Grossberg’s suit.
“This is a step towards accountability for the election lies and baseless conspiracy theories spread by Fox News, something I witnessed firsthand at the network, as well as for the abuse and harassment I endured while Head of Booking and Senior Producer for Tucker Carlson Tonight. I think this is great for America!” Grossberg said through her attorney. “It’s a big win for viewers of cable news, not just those who watch Fox.” Grossberg added that the move was “some justice” for viewers “who’ve been manipulated and lied to for years, all in an attempt to boost the channel’s ratings and revenue.”
Regardless of why Carlson was ousted, it’s a shocking development. Carlson was the network’s star host, helming the most-watched show in cable news. Mediaite reported in March that Carlson was essentially beyond reproach at the network, enjoying “unconditional backing” from Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch. Carlson reportedly faced plenty of criticism from elsewhere within the network, though, with Fox’s news division refusing to broadcast his exceedingly dubious report on the Jan. 6 surveillance tapes House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) leaked to Carlson exclusively.
Carlson using selectively edited surveillance footage to paint the Capitol riot as peaceful was not out of character. The host was well known for distorting facts and spreading misinformation to millions of Americans on a nightly basis. The announcement comes a day after 60 Minutes profiled Ray Epps, a Trump supporter who was in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, and whom Carlson has repeatedly suggested incited the riot on behalf of the FBI. Lawyers representing Epps, whose life has been upended by conspiracy theories about his role in the riot, wrote a letter to Fox and Carlson last month demanding the host retract his “false and defamatory statements.”
Carlson was also the network’s foremost purveyor of white supremacist rhetoric, the “great replacement” theory, and other unvarnished racism — such as earlier this month when he ranted about Tennessee state Rep. Justin Pearson, accusing the Black lawmaker of speaking like a “sharecropper.” Carlson railed about Black people moving to the suburbs and argued that racism does not affect home appraisals in his final episode last Friday.
Carlson’s final show ended with the host enjoying some pizza he had delivered to the studio. “We’ll be back on Monday,” he said. “We’ll see you then.”
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