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6 May, 2023 17:41

Tucker Carlson forced off air by Fox contract – NYT

The former primetime host cannot appear on TV before 2025 under his employment terms
Tucker Carlson forced off air by Fox contract – NYT

Recently-fired Fox News host Tucker Carlson may be sidelined from television news entirely until after the 2024 election unless he can extricate himself from his previous employment contract, according to multiple sources who spoke to the New York Times on Friday.

The anchorman is restrained by a common clause known as ‘pay or play’ that restricts him from working for a competitor until the contract expires, an inside source told the outlet. Carlson’s contract is valid through January 2025, meaning he has no choice but to stay off the airwaves until after the 2024 election unless he is able to negotiate an exit. 

Carlson has reportedly retained entertainment lawyer Bryan Freedman to work out a settlement with his former employer. Numerous outlets, both traditional and internet-based, are said to be courting the conservative pundit, including Rumble, the Daily Wire, Newsmax, and One America News. 

Carlson was let go last month hours before he was scheduled to go on the air, supposedly at the request of Lachlan Murdoch, CEO of Fox Corporation, and Suzanne Scott, CEO of Fox News Media, according to a source who spoke to the Times.  

Media outlets including the Times have suggested his ouster was due to a text message discovered while the network was preparing for Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit to go to trial in which Carlson acknowledged the humanity of an Antifa protester. He had enjoyed watching the “creep” get beaten up, he admitted, even though “it’s not how white men fight.” 

Other leaked texts from Carlson show him calling Trump lawyer Sidney Powell “cruel and reckless” for pushing the theory that Dominion was flipping votes for then-candidate Joe Biden. The network ultimately did not allow the Dominion suit to go to trial, settling with the voting machine manufacturer for $787 million.

Carlson has remained largely silent about the circumstances of his departure, save for a two-minute clip he posted to Twitter decrying how “unbelievably stupid” most TV news content was and lamenting the absence of “undeniably big topics” on the airwaves. The clip has garnered over 24 million views in just two weeks, while Fox’s own ratings have plummeted, with the network losing half its audience in the coveted 25 to 54 demographic.