According to multiple sources with knowledge of the conversation, Tucker Carlson’s recent benching was a condition of Fox News’ settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, and he is now trying to trade his $20 million Fox News salary for a Twitter show.
The mystery surrounding Tucker Carlson’s ouster from the airwaves at Fox News — and his future plans in media — are coming into sharper focus.
On April 26, Carlson spoke by phone with one of Fox Corp.’s eight board members, who told the host that his recent benching was a condition of Fox News’ settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the conversation.
The unnamed board member told Carlson that the condition does not appear in any of the settlement’s documents, and instead was a verbal agreement. If Fox didn’t comply, the settlement was off, Carlson was told. Dominion had plenty of leverage given that the $787.5 million deal to settle Dominion’s defamation suit against the network wouldn’t officially close until late-May.
If Dominion opted to blow up the deal, Fox would return to square one on settlement talks or potentially subject the Murdoch family empire to a jury trial that would undoubtedly expose more embarrassing details about the operation of Fox News and fallout from its 2020 president election coverage. Unlike Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro and Maria Bartiromo, Carlson wasn’t a key player in the suit that claimed Fox News repeatedly and knowingly aired false claims about the company with regards to the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
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But Dominion was looking for the best way to maim the conservative news network, and forcing Fox News to cut ties with the most-watched personality in cable news would deal a potentially insurmountable blow and lead to a viewer exodus, according to Carlson’s understanding.
“That condition was intended to hurt Fox, and Tucker is just collateral damage,” says a source familiar with the matter. “Dominion wanted to punish Fox, and it’s working.”
Dominion and Fox Corp. both strongly dispute that the decision to take Carlson off the air was directly linked to the settlement. A Fox News spokeswoman called it “categorically false.” Dominion issued a statement to Variety.
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