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It may be that the situation between Tucker Carlson and his long-time former employer, Fox News, is about to turn very ugly.
According to Rolling Stone, the network’s brass has amassed a secret “oppo file” of dirt on Carlson that it plans to use if he attempts to take any action against the network, though the report may make some people skeptical given the outlet’s past credibility issues.
Nonetheless, according to the magazine’s report, eight individuals at Fox News claimed to have knowledge of a data file that could be utilized to tarnish Carlson’s reputation in case the network believed he had crossed a certain line.
In a statement announcing Fox News’ decision to cut ties with Carlson, the outlet said: “FOX News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways. We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.”
It added: “Mr. Carlson’s last program was Friday, April 21st.”
The first name to appear below the published statement was Irena Briganti, Fox’s senior executive vice president for corporate communications. According to Rolling Stone, the “notoriously aggressive” Briganti has kept “oppo files” on talent and contributors for quite some time.
Initial reports indicated that the break-up was amicable and mutual, but Rolling Stone reports otherwise, claiming that a source says Carlson left on “the worst” and “messiest possible terms.”
And, in an email that surfaced during Fox News’ case with Dominion Voting Systems, Carlson reportedly said in an email, “She hates us.”
“Eight people familiar with the situation tell Rolling Stone that Fox News and its communications department — long led by the notoriously aggressive Irena Briganti — has assembled damaging information about Carlson,” Rolling Stone reported.
“One source with knowledge calls it an ‘oppo file.’ Two sources add that Fox is prepared to disclose some of its contents if execs suspect that Carlson is coming after the network,” the report continued. “The file includes internal complaints regarding workplace conduct, disparaging comments about management and colleagues, and allegations that the now-former prime-time host created a toxic work environment, three of the sources say.”
Carlson was fired from Fox just a few hours before long-time host Don Lemon was let go by CNN after a tumultuous tenure there. Both have retained high-power industry legal representation from Bryan Freedman, which may be an indication of action against both networks.
As for Carlson, he was let go in the immediate aftermath of the network’s massive $787.5 million defamation settlement with Dominion, and some have speculated that was the final straw, though others have said they believe it was because Carlson’s coverage of certain topics like the Jan. 6 Capitol riot made execs uncomfortable. Carlson himself said he believes it’s because the Murdoch clan, who own the network, are planning to sell it.
Late Wednesday, Carlson released a video to his supporters on Wednesday night, encouraging them to “keep fighting” and adding that they would hear from him soon. In the video, Carlson said he realized after stepping “outside the noise for a few days” how “unbelievably stupid most of the debates you see on television are,” arguing that they were “completely irrelevant” and “mean nothing.”
“In five years, we won’t even remember that we had them,” he said. “Trust me as someone who has participated.”
Explain America’s Carmine Sabia filed a report regarding the video shortly after Carlson dropped it:
Soon after news of Carlson’s firing, reports shed light on who made the final decision to cut ties with the top host.
It said that Lachlan Murdoch, the chief executive of Fox Corporation, and Suzanne Scott, chief executive of Fox News Media, decided on Friday night to fire Carlson. Then, Scott informed Carlson on Monday morning of the decision.
“The power that Mr. Carlson, 53, wielded outside Fox News could not insulate him from a growing list of troubles inside the network related to his conduct on and off the air, some of which had been grating on Mr. Murdoch and his father, Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of Fox Corporation, who co-founded the network in 1996, according to the two people with knowledge of the company’s decision,” the New York Times reported.