Fox News sent a letter to Tucker Carlson’s lawyers on Wednesday saying the debut episode of his Twitter-based show breached their existing contract, Axios reported.
Fox did not comment on the Wednesday report, and Carlson’s lawyer Bryan Freedman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A source familiar with the situation told Axios that Fox believes it has been working in good faith to reach an amicable agreement.
Carlson was reportedly still under contract until 2025, to the tune of $10 million per year, when he was abruptly fired in late April. Axios said Carlson was told by top Fox brass that the network’s goal is to keep him sidelined until the contract expires — which would silence him for the entire 2024 election cycle.
Freedman told Axios that any legal action by Fox would be a violation of Carlson’s First Amendment rights.
“Fox defends its very existence on freedom of speech grounds,” Freedman said. “Now they want to take Tucker Carlson’s right to speak freely away from him because he took to social media to share his thoughts on current events.”
Axios said the letter, from Fox News general counsel Bernard Gugar, refers to a contract signed Nov. 8, 2019 and amended Feb. 16, 2021. “In connection with such breach and pursuant to the Agreement, Fox expressly reserves all rights and remedies which are available to it at law or equity,” it reads.
Citing sources familiar with their thinking, Axios reported that Carlson’s legal team believes his Twitter show would not be considered a competitor to Fox News.
Carlson was abruptly ousted in late April before the ink had dried on Fox News’ $787 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems. Fox has cleaned out Carlson’s studio — one could easily tell from the production quality of his first episode — and has been filling his 8 p.m. timeslot with a rotation of existing hosts.