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Sources familiar with former top-rated Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s breach of contract case against his employer say that a phone call from one of the network’s lawyers is at the center of the controversy, according to a Friday report.
The Daily Caller exclusively reported that Fox News’s Chief Legal Counsel, Viet Dinh, made a phone call to a close associate of Carlson on May 3 with the intention of relaying a message to Carlson himself. During the conversation, Dinh expressed regret over how the previous week had unfolded in the media.
He reportedly assured Carlson’s camp that Fox News had “not authorized” the leaks that resulted in negative headlines. The sources further claim that Dinh conveyed a warning to Irena Briganti, the head of Fox News PR, stating that she would be “fired” if caught engaging in any leaks.
Significantly, Dinh also disclosed, as per the sources, that the network’s leadership suspected a member of the board of directors of unauthorized communication with the press regarding Carlson, the report said.
“Carlson’s camp suspected either former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan or Anne Dias, a wealthy hedge fund manager, according to a source. Both were appointed to Fox’s board in March of 2019. Carlson’s inner circle has since ruled out Ryan, according to sources, and now believes it was Dias who talked to the press,” the outlet reported further.
Carlson’s lawyer, Bryan Freedman, told The Daily Caller that the leaks were tantamount to a “smear campaign” against the former prime-time star.
“It strains credulity that, immediately after agreeing to pay almost $780 million to settle serious allegations of misconduct that a member of Fox’s Board of Directors would be engaging in an attempted smear campaign by illegally leaking information about Tucker Carlson,” Freedman said.
“However, we have to trust that it is true when the Chief Legal Officer informs Tucker that he believes it to be the case,” he added.
According to Axios, Carlson has accused his employer of breaching his contract and has asserted that in a letter addressed to Dinh and Briganti. Carlson’s argument is based on the claim that Fox employees, including founder and CEO Rupert Murdoch, had made assurances that they would not disparage him. In the letter, Carlson’s lawyers argue that Dinh and Murdoch deliberately violated the “material representations” outlined in the contract, the outlet reported.
“These actions not only breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing in the Agreement, but give rise to claims for breach of contract and intentional and negligent misrepresentation,” the letter reportedly states.
The Daily Caller, which was co-founded by Carlson in 2010, adds:
Leaks to the media included private text messages sent by Carlson along with behind-the-scenes footage of Carlson joking with coworkers prior to taping his show.
Brigante called these claims “categorically false” and sent the Caller two letters from Fox’s legal team. One letter was a cease and desist addressed to Media Matters — a site dedicated to smearing conservatives with deceptive articles and manipulated videos — which published a series of behind-the-scenes videos of Tucker. The other was a letter Fox News sent to Dominion alleging the company leaked information turned over during the discovery process in Dominion’s lawsuit, an allegation the company has denied publicly.
Critics have viewed the letters from Fox News, which were made public several weeks ago, as a smokescreen aimed at deflecting blame for the leaks away from the embattled network. Fox News has faced significant challenges following the cancellation of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” resulting in a considerable negative impact on the brand’s reputation and standing, The Daily Caller added.
Carlson has since announced that he is planning to air a show of some kind on Twitter.