After the first episode of Tucker Carlson’s new Twitter show aired on Tuesday, Fox News issued a letter accusing him of breaching his contract.
Carlson was fired from the network, where he was the most popular host by far, after it paid a record-breaking $787 million defamation settlement in the Dominion Voting Systems case.
Fox allegedly removed Carlson from the air as part of the settlement, but he had reportedly drawn the ire of Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch long before then.
There is reportedly a noncompete clause in his contract which extends until January 2025. Fox reportedly offered $25 million for Carlson to wait in silence until that date, which would leave him sidelined during the 2024 election cycle.
On Tuesday evening, Fox News general counsel Bernard Gugar sent the letter to Carlson’s lawyers saying he “is in breach” of his contract, according to Axios.
“This evening we were made aware of Mr. Tucker Carlson’s appearance on Twitter in a video that lasted over 10 minutes,” the letter read.
“Pursuant to the terms of the Agreement, Mr. Carlson’s ‘services shall be completely exclusive to Fox.'”
It also specifically mentioned part of the contract that specifies Carlson is “prohibited from rendering services of any type whatsoever, whether ‘over the internet via streaming or similar distribution, or other digital distribution whether now known or hereafter devised.'”
Carlson’s team is arguing that Twitter is not directly competitive with Fox so he is not in breach of contract.
“Fox defends its very existence on freedom of speech grounds. Now they want to take Tucker Carlson’s right to speak freely away from him because he took to social media to share his thoughts on current events,” Carlson’s lawyer said in a statement to Axios.
The accusation from Fox sets up a potential legal battle between the most notorious right-wing cable news giant and one of the most prominent voices in conservative media.