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Repeatedly controversial Tucker Carlson quits Fox News


Fox News on Monday fired the most popular prime-time host, Tucker Carlson, who became the most vocal on the American right in recent years with his outrageous, inflammatory monologues about immigrants, black civil rights activists, vaccines and national identity. One of the influential voices.

Mr. Carlson’s departure has shocked both inside Fox News and the larger conservative media world, where he has power like no one else to elevate candidates and controversies on his 8 p.m. show “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” . Fox said his last show was on Friday.

Fox Corporation Chief Executive Lachlan Murdoch and Fox News Media Chief Suzanne Scott made the decision to let Mr. Carlson go on Friday night, according to a person familiar with the matter. Another person with knowledge of the move said Ms. Scott notified Mr. Carlson on Monday morning.

Mr. Carlson’s show has become a must-see for conservatives during Donald J. Trump’s presidency. Donald J. Trump, an ideological ally and occasional confidant, whose rise as a political force has been fueled by the same populism and culture war grievances that made Mr. Carlson a star.

His departure ended the scandal-fueled meteoric rise of the conservative news and opinion channel, which was promoted to prime time in early 2017 after Mr. Trump’s inauguration and quickly became one of Fox’s biggest names.

Few other conservative commentators anywhere—whether on television, talk radio, or the Internet—have a relationship with Mr. Trump, the ability to influence his thinking, even briefly, and no ability to directly Opinion on the anxieties of the former president’s followers.

But the power Mr. Carlson, 53, wields outside of Fox News has not shielded him from mounting troubles within the network related to his behavior on and off the show, some of which have angered Mr Murdoch and his father Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch co-founded the network in 1996, according to two people with knowledge of the company’s decision.

The moderator, part of a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems, was a polarizing and unpopular figure in networks other than his own staff, where he was exposed as a bully, often using profane and sexist language to vilify colleagues and source, and demanded that he be fired for reporting that he didn’t like the Fox reporter. He has also been condemned by both the left and the right for promoting revisionist rhetoric in the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

No one has quit Fox News so abruptly and unexpectedly since the Internet turmoil of 2016 and 2017, when CEO Roger Ailes and Fox’s biggest primetime star, Bill O’Reilly, were fired over their sexual relations. misconduct cases.

An early point of contention was Mr. Carlson’s 2021 documentary “Patriot Purge,” which advanced a conspiracy theory that that day’s attack was a so-called false-flag operation designed to discredit the former president and his political movement. Lachlan Murdoch is said to have been caught off guard by the plan, which also led to the resignation of two conservative Fox News contributors, Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes, in protest.

In March, Mr. Carlson edited tens of thousands of hours of footage from the attack that Speaker Kevin McCarthy had provided him, and used it to falsely paint the rioters as what Mr. Carson called “mostly peaceful.” “Bystanders, they walked into the square innocently. House of Parliament. The broadcast drew a rebuke from Senator Mitch McConnell, a friend of Rupert Murdoch, who said Mr Carlson had drawn “offensive and misleading conclusions”.

In recent weeks, however, the uproar in the air was what led to Mr Carlson’s ouster. He would be a star witness in Dominion’s trial of a multibillion-dollar defamation suit against Fox News, until the network’s abrupt $787.5 million settlement last week.

Late last month, one of his former producers filed a lawsuit against Fox and Mr Carlson, alleging the host ran a toxic workplace. Producer Abby Grossberg said in her complaint that she worked in an environment where “unprofessionalism reigns supreme, and employees’ misogyny and contempt for women permeates nearly every workday’s decisions. She also accused her former colleagues of making anti-Semitic comments and being often rude and demeaning to women on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

In announcing Mr. Carlson’s departure on Monday, Fox issued a terse statement of thanks but offered no explanation. “Fox News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways. We thank him for his service to the network as host and prior to that as a contributor,” the network statement said.

Carlson did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Fox News host Harris Faulkner said on the air Monday that starting that night, the temporary show “Fox News Tonight” will air at 8 p.m. host”.

The ouster was an ignominious turn in the career of a man who had been rumored in Republican circles as a possible presidential candidate. When Mr. Trump was in the White House, Mr. Carlson listened to him all he wanted. Long before he became a Covid vaccine skeptic — Mr. Carlson’s political profile often shifted on the whim of his listeners — he traveled to Mr. Trump’s Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, in March 2020 to speak in person. Encourage the president to get vaccinated Coronavirus is more serious. He explained to Vanity Fair that at the time he felt “a moral obligation to make a difference to the best of my ability.”

Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Carlson have helped push the far-right into the Republican mainstream on issues such as border policy and race relations, and both like to antagonize their political opponents with bold and often inauthentic attacks.

As Mr Carlson warned his audience that they were being attacked by liberal elites and unchecked immigration, he borrowed some of his central themes from white nationalist and far-right networks and recast them for a more mainstream audience. retouched. When he worries that Mr. Trump will falter on his campaign promises — for example, enacting tough policies to deter and deport immigrants and reducing U.S. involvement in foreign conflicts — he aired his concerns on his show, which It usually attracts about 3 million viewers a night.

When Fox launched its streaming network, Fox Nation, to generate more revenue from its most loyal fans, it was Mr. Carlson who headlined the new platform, with a thrice-weekly talk show and regular documentaries Double down on his themes: duplicitous elites and race-obsessed liberals.

During his prime at Fox, he despised the network’s top leadership while cultivating among colleagues the impression that he was on good terms with the Murdoch family, most notably Fox Chief Executive Lachlan Murdoch. But in sworn testimony as part of the Dominion lawsuit, Mr. Carlson said the two men were not particularly close. Asked how often he communicated with Lachlan Murdoch, Mr. Carlson replied: “Very rarely.” He added, “It’s not once a week, not even once a month.”

The Dominion case exposed that Mr. Carlson’s militant, pro-Trump image didn’t always match what he said in private. When he told his audience after the 2020 election that they were right to cast doubt on the credibility of the vote count, he told his producers just the opposite.

As part of Dominion’s defamation lawsuit against Fox, private information about him and employees who have vulgarly and sexistly discredited Mr. Trump and his legal counsel after the 2020 election was released. In one exchange with staff, Mr. Carlson sent a text about Mr. Trump, “I hate him so much.” In another post, he called Mr. Trump — who often appears on his show Praise him in “Demonic Power, Destroyer”.

In a recent lawsuit filed by Ms. Grosberg, who claims she was coerced by Fox’s lawyers into giving misleading testimony in the Dominion case, she accused Mr. Carlson of presiding over a misogynistic and discriminatory work place culture.

Ms. Grossberg said in the lawsuit filed in March that on her first day working for Mr. Carlson, she found the workspace decorated with a large photo of Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a deep-V swimsuit. .

“Mr. Carlson’s derogatory comments about women, and his contempt for those who dared to speak out against such misogyny, were well known on the scene of his show, the lawsuit alleges.

Ms. Grossberg’s attorney, Parisis G. Filippatos, said Monday that Ms. Grossberg has nearly 90 recordings from her time at Fox that confirm her claims about a hostile work culture, and backed Fox’s claim of spreading lies about voters for fraud charges.

Fox has said it will contest Ms Grosberg’s claims. She was fired after she filed a lawsuit in New York and filed another lawsuit against the company in Delaware.

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” senior executive producer Justin Wells is also no longer employed by Fox News, according to two people familiar with the matter. Mr. Wells has worked closely with Mr. Carlson since it aired in primetime in 2016.

In recent years, Mr Carlson has led people to believe he is a pariah. Last year, in an interview with Semafor, he boasted that he was running almost autonomously at Fox. “I don’t clear anything with anyone. I’m late on scripts,” Mr. Carlson said.

He’s not the first star Fox personality to leave the network after building a large following. In 2011, the network launched Tea Party superstar Glenn Beck, whose anti-Obama rhetoric made his show one of the most popular in Fox News history. Two years later, Fox parted ways with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Fox executives said at the time that one factor contributed to the departure more than any other: No one is more important than the network.

nicholas the confessor and Jim Ruttenberg Contribution report.

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