Jun 12, 2023 - Economy

Scoop: Fox sends Tucker Carlson cease-and-desist letter

Tucker Carlson speaks during the FOX Nation Patriot Awards on Nov. 17, 2022, in Hollywood, Florida. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

Fox News has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Tucker Carlson as he ramps up a competing series on Twitter that drew a combined 169 million views for its first two episodes, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The contract battle between Fox and its former top host — who was taken off the air in April, after the network's historic Dominion settlement — has mighty repercussions for the conservative media ecosystem.

  • With "Tucker on Twitter," Carlson and his growing production team are working to elevate Elon Musk's social media site as a news platform.

Details: The cease-and-desist letter has "NOT FOR PUBLICATION" in bold at the top.

What's happening: Fox is continuing to pay Carlson, and maintains that his contract keeps his content exclusive to Fox through Dec. 31, 2024.

  • Carlson is making a First Amendment argument for posting on Twitter, and asserts that Fox has committed material breaches of his contract.

Behind the scenes: Carlson's first two Twitter episodes were straight-to-camera monologues. He plans to keep iterating with longer, more varied episodes and the addition of guests, Axios is told.

  • We hear some big names have been lined up.
  • Justin Wells, Carlson's executive producer, tweeted yesterday: "Next Episode of Tucker on Twitter coming Tuesday: Tucker’s response to the indictment of President Donald Trump."

What they're saying: Harmeet Dhillon, a lawyer who represents Carlson along with Bryan Freedman, said in a statement to Axios: "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," the statement continued.
  • "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 didn't comment.

Go deeper: Tucker Carlson out at Fox News

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