April 24 (Reuters) – Fox News Media and its top-rated host Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways, less than a week after parent company Fox Corp ( FOXA.O ) settled a defamation lawsuit involving Carlson for $787.5 million. Stock.
The outspoken Carlson embraces conservative issues and delivers his views on his prime-time show “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the most-watched cable news program in the U.S. among the 25-to-54 demographic. Cable News Network. Shares of Fox fell 2.9% on the company’s announcement on Monday.
In its lawsuit, Dominion Voting Systems alleges that Carlson allowed election fraud claims about the voting technology company to air on his show.
Carlson was also key to additional legal battles facing Fox, including a lawsuit filed by his former booking chief, Abby Grossberg, that forced Fox to testify in the Dominion case.
Grossberg last month accused network lawyers of pressuring her to give false testimony, and said Fox exposed her and others to rampant sexism and misogyny. Fox fired Grossberg, saying her legal claims were “tainted by false allegations against Fox and our employees.”
Carlson’s next move and the reason for his departure remain unclear.
“We thank him for his service to the network as a host and as a contributor before that,” Fox News said in a statement. The departure leaves Fox without one of its biggest stars, with advertisers pulling out of Carlson’s show as he embraces the controversy.
Fox Corp. Chief Executive Lachlan Murdoch and Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said Friday night it was time to part ways with Carlson, two sources familiar with the matter said.
Justin Wells, senior executive producer of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” was let go from Fox News on Monday, a third person said.
U.S. Rep. Thomas Massey, a Republican from Kentucky, said Fox would be hurt by Carlson’s departure. “@TuckerCarlson has left Fox News. He was the bravest they ever had! Big loss for Fox,” he wrote on Twitter.
Claims of manipulation
In the weeks immediately following Biden’s announcement of victory in the 2020 election, Fox’s smaller, more conservative rivals, such as Newsmax, gained viewers as they questioned the election results. Dominion alleged that Fox employees, from Carlson and members of the newsroom to the board of directors, knew the reports about Dominion were false, but continued to air them to avoid losing more viewers.
“It’s been a while since Fox News became establishment media and Tucker Carlson’s firing is a major milestone in that effort,” Newsmax Chief Executive Christopher Rudy said in a statement.
In deeply conservative West Texas, some Fox viewers expressed shock and anger at Carlson’s firing.
“My wife and I were talking about it, and we think it’s a real bummer that they kicked him off the plane because he’s a real conservative voice,” said Mark Goodelman, a 67-year-old retiree who was shopping at Dollar General. Shop in Shallowator, Texas.
Four people at Shalowator, who are conservative but would not give their full names, said they stopped watching Fox in 2020 after Trump was deemed treasonous. They say they now prefer what they consider more authentically conservative outlets like Newsmax. Or One America News.
Dominion is suing Newsmax and One America News over similarly denied claims of voter fraud.
Carlson’s last project is April 21, the company said in a statement. It said “Fox News Tonight” will go live Monday at 8 p.m. EDT, starting as an interim show with rotating Fox News personalities until a new host is named.
After announcing Carlson’s departure from Fox News, a spokesperson for former President Donald Trump tweeted: “Fox News controlled opposition.” Trump gave Carlson an interview earlier this month that aired on Fox.
In an interview with Newsmax on Monday, Trump called Carlson “a very good man and very talented.” Carlson said he did not know if his departure was voluntary or if he was fired.
Republican U.S. Representative Lauren Bobert, a staunch Trump supporter, supported Carlson. “I stand with Tucker Carlson!” He tweeted shortly after the news broke.
Carlson joined Fox News as a contributor in 2009 and became co-anchor of “Fox & Friends Weekend” in 2012. He started hosting his prime-time show in November 2016. In 2021, Fox announced a multi-year deal with Carlson to provide content. for its Fox Nation streaming service.
Akriti Sharma reports in Bangalore
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.