September 23, 2023

Tucker Carlson Is Gone From Fox News


Tucker Carlson and Fox News are parting ways, the network confirmed on Monday.

“FOX News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways. We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor. Mr. Carlson’s last program was Friday April 21st,” the network wrote in a statement. “Fox News Tonight will air live at 8 PM/ET starting this evening as an interim show helmed by rotating FOX News personalities until a new host is named.”

Carlson’s final Fox News broadcast ended last week with him eating pizza on-set, confidently declaring, “We’ll be back!” Alas, his show is not coming back.

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The Fox star’s exit was so abrupt that just hours before the news broke, the network was still promoting his Monday night interview with GOP longshot presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy.

Newsmax, which has run to Fox’s right in a Quixotic attempt to compete with its much larger rival, shamelessly pandered to the now-former Fox News star and his fans throughout the day on Monday.

“For a while Fox News has been moving to become establishment media and Tucker Carlson’s removal is a big milestone in that effort,” Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy said in a statement. “Millions of viewers who liked the old Fox News have made the switch to Newsmax and this will only fuel that trend.” (Ironically, Carlson in Nov. 2020, had to reassure Fox News viewers on air that he wasn’t going anywhere after rumors spread online that he was ditching Fox for Newsmax.)

The bombshell departure comes as a major shock considering the far-right star was considered a kingmaker in Republican circles, beyond being the most-watched host in primetime cable news and the face of the Fox News brand.

Shortly after Carlson’s exit was announced, Fox Corporation’s stock price dropped by more than three percent. One Fox News reporter, shortly after Carlson’s exit was revealed, told The Daily Beast they were “amazed and relieved they had the balls” to get rid of the bombastic host.

Carlson’s influence in the conservative movement was a key reason why the conservative cable giant was willing to look the other way despite the longtime star’s perpetual controversies. Throughout his tenure, Carlson had faced countless calls for his termination due to his over-the-top xenophobia, racism, and conspiratorial rantings about the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Of course, the timing of Carlson’s departure comes less than a week after Fox settled with Dominion Voting Systems for an eye-popping $787.5 million over the network’s promotion of election fraud lies following the 2020 election. Carlson was scheduled to be one of Dominion’s top witnesses in the trial, largely over his contradictory behind-the-scenes remarks about Team Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud.

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While Carlson had expressed doubts about former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell’s unhinged conspiracies about voting machines and even called her out on the air, the Tucker Carlson Tonight host did allow MAGA pillow magnate Mike Lindell to openly peddle unfounded claims about Dominion on his show. Worse yet, this occurred after the Capitol riots and Joe Biden’s inauguration.

In fact, during his deposition to Dominion lawyers, Fox News boss Rupert Murdoch said it was “wrong” for Carlson to host Lindell on his primetime program. Carlson, meanwhile, conceded that he was aware that Lindell would likely promote outlandish claims on his show but that he didn’t push back because it happened at the end of a segment.

The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, reported on Monday that the decision to terminate Carlson came directly from Murdoch himself.

Another key revelation in the messages unearthed by Dominion was Carlson’s seeming disdain for many of the network’s top executives and management, including Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and Irena Briganti, the network’s top spokesperson.

Additionally, Carlson’s unredacted deposition reveals that the star host was making $15 million annually at Fox, and had a four-year contract.

The massive payout to Dominion, and the need to show shareholders that the network was serious about addressing the increasingly strident tone of its programming, may have only played a part in Carlson’s demise.

On Sunday night, 60 Minutes aired a lengthy interview with pro-Trump activist Ray Epps, who has been the target of right-wing conspiracy theories peddled by Carlson on his show. According to Carlson, Epps was allegedly a federal agent who helped incite the Capitol attack—the Fox host’s attempt to prove the entire insurrection was a false flag.

Last month, however, Epps’s lawyer demanded that Carlson publicly retract the “false and defamatory” claims and issue a “formal apology for the lies” he’s told about Epps. And on Sunday’s broadcast of 60 Minutes, previously unseen bodycam footage revealed that Epps had urged rioters not to attack law enforcement at the Capitol, while Epps himself said Carlson was “obsessed” with destroying his life.

Additionally, this wasn’t the only legal headache Fox News faced that involved Carlson. Abby Grossberg, a former senior booking producer for both Carlson and Maria Bartiromo, is currently suing Fox over claims of harassment, discrimination, and a hostile working environment. In her legal complaints, Grossberg detailed instances of misogyny and sexism while working on Carlson’s show.

Justin Wells, Carlson’s executive producer who was named throughout Grossberg’s lawsuit, is also out at Fox News, according to Semafor.

“Tucker Carlson’s departure from Fox News is, in part, an admission of the systemic lying, bullying, and conspiracy-mongering claimed by our client, former top producer, Abby Grossberg. Mr. Carlson and his subordinates remain individual defendants in the S.D.N.Y. case and we look forward to taking their depositions under oath in the very near term,” Grossberg’s attorney Tanvir Rahman said in a statement.

“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! It’s a big win for viewers of cable news, not just those who watch Fox,” Grossberg added. “This is some justice for the American people and for Fox News viewers who’ve been manipulated and lied to for years, all in an attempt to boost the channel’s ratings and revenue.”

Some of the Fox star’s top critics cheered Carlson’s exit on Monday. “Tucker Carlson is a toxic and corrosive person. His departure from Fox News is a good thing and long overdue,” Bridget Todd, director of communications at women’s group Ultraviolet, said in a statement.

“Carlson is one of the nation’s most prolific mouthpieces for white supremacy, misinformation, and misogyny,“ she added. ”By providing Tucker with a platform on national TV for so long, Fox News has done extensive damage to our democracy. Good riddance, Tucker Carlson.”

The hosts of daytime talk show The View, which have long been favorite targets of Carlson, were overjoyed at the news that he was gone from Fox News. While celebrating his departure, the panelists led the audience in a rendition of “Na Na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye.”

Carlson also took heat from Fox News’s core viewers in recent months over the belief that he wasn’t genuine with his on-air beliefs. Specifically, texts and emails unearthed by Dominion found the conservative heavyweight trashing Donald Trump privately and going so far as to say he hated the ex-president “passionately.”

Fox News not only needs to fill a massive hole in its primetime lineup with the departure of Carlson—it also faces a sudden loss of content for Fox Nation, the network’s online streaming service.

Following the 2020 election, Carlson was made the face of Fox Nation. Besides his long-form interviews on Tucker Carlson Today, he also produced documentaries for the streamer—including the infamous Patriot Purge special that suggested the federal government orchestrated the Jan. 6 attacks.

Carlson isn’t the only Fox News star who suddenly exited the network following the Dominion settlement. MAGA blowhard Dan Bongino, one of the loudest election denialists at Fox, revealed on Thursday that he could not come to a contract extension with the network and had already aired his final broadcast.

It remains to be seen if other Fox News stars who peddled election fraud lies, or any executives who looked the other way while they did, will soon be shown the door.

The now-former Fox News star did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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This post originally appeared on and written by:
Justin Baragona, Lachlan Cartwright, Corbin Bolies
The Daily Beast 2023-04-24 15:35:00