The sudden firing of one of America’s media’s most followed and most volatile far-right figures came without a statement explaining why, exactly, Tucker Carlson and Fox News “agreed to part ways,” as described by the network.
Hundreds of court filings and anonymously sourced reports from within the network have stitched together the image of a looming HR nightmare within the right-wing media behemoth, with a federal lawsuit from a former producer claiming put Carlson at the center of the allegations.
Overlapping accounts across multiple news outlets say the decision may have stemmed from Abby Grossberg’s lawsuit, a “crisis” surrounding redacted lewd messages aimed at other Fox News employees, and Rupert Murdoch’s alleged growing impatience with the host of the most watched program of the network, among other factors.
Ms. Grossberg’s lawsuit, filed in US District Court in New York last month, alleges that “derogatory comments about women and her contempt for those who dare to stand up to such misogyny are well known” on the set of the his Tucker Carlson tonight.
The claims in the lawsuit — as well as the arguments of Dominion Voting Systems in its successful defamation case against the network over 2020 election lies — represented a much larger state of toxic dysfunction within Fox News.
But a series of redacted messages uncovered just days before what would become a hotly watched libel trial in Delaware would spark a panic among the Fox leadership that ultimately led to Carlson’s exit.
Private messages in the legal documents reportedly include crude and hurtful comments from Carlson which, coupled with embarrassing behind-the-scenes revelations included in Dominion’s case against the company, prompted Fox’s leadership to take action, The New York Times AND The Wall Street Journal reported.
The independent requested comment from an attorney representing Carlson.
“Fox News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways. We thank him for his service to the network as a host and before that as a contributor,” the network shared in a statement this week.
Dominion’s attorneys had planned to press the judge to use the messages in their cross-examination of Carlson on the witness stand. A last-minute deal — after jurors were already sworn in — avoided a closely guarded trial in Delaware Superior Court.
The deal doesn’t necessarily mean the documents will remain off limits; The New York Timesthe Associated Press and National Public Radio objected to the editorials and argued for their public release.
The lawsuit of the former producer
Ms. Grossberg’s complaint — which has been filed against the Fox Corporation, Fox leadership, Carlson and its producers, among others — alleges that her allegations join a pattern of gender-based abuse and retaliation at the company , with more than 10 pages outlining a legacy of “vivid examples of blatant sexual harassment and gender discrimination” since at least 2004.
The lawsuit alleges a litany of sexist comments directed at Fox News personality Maria Bartiromo from male colleagues (“crazy,” “menopausal,” “hysterical, “disgusting and hard to handle”) and derogatory comments directed at other women, including politicians and female colleagues.
Carlson producer Justin Wells hired Grossberg for Carlson’s program in July 2022 and he officially began the role in September, according to the complaint. “She had simply traded an overtly misogynistic work environment for an even crueler one – this time, one in which unprofessionalism reigned supreme and the staff’s disgust and contempt for women infiltrated nearly every decision of the workday.” , states his cause.
“No woman, whether a Republican politician or a Fox News staffer, was safe from suddenly becoming the target of sexist and demeaning comments, like being called a ‘c ***’,” her complaint states.
Wells was also fired this week.
On her first full day with Carlson’s program, she was greeted “by many large, zoomed-in photographs of Nancy Pelosi in a cleavage-revealing bathing suit” plastered on her computer and all over the office, according to her cause.
The complaint also alleges that, the next day, a producer asked her if her former boss Bartiromo was “f****** Kevin McCarthy,” the current Speaker of the House of Representatives.
A day later, another producer sent her a “nightly series of harassing and unprofessional emails” about a booking decision for the programme. Wells and another producer allegedly ignored her complaints.
Staff a Tucker Carlson tonight “often engaged in group discussions” during which “misogynistic views of women as objects to be judged solely on their looks were conveyed” and often within earshot of other female staffers,” the lawsuit states.
“In these discussions, no woman, whether a Republican politician or a Fox News staffer, was safe from suddenly becoming the target of sexist and demeaning comments, such as being called a ‘c***’,” according to The Complaint by Mrs. Grossberg.
In October, an alleged discussion took place in the newsroom about whether Michigan gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon or Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer was “hotter and more f***ing.”
A statement from Fox News a The independent Following Ms. Grossberg’s lawsuit, the company “engaged an independent outside counsel to immediately investigate the concerns raised by Ms. Grossberg, which were made following a critical performance review.”
Ms. Grossberg, who was fired shortly after filing the complaint, said during an appearance on MSNBC this week that Carlson’s sudden termination has left her with mixed emotions.
“There were feelings before ‘Yes!’ and then also the reality that you don’t want anything bad to happen to anyone,” Ms. Grossberg said. “But at the same time, Tucker and his executive producer, Justin Wells, who was also fired, were really responsible for making me broken and made my life a living hell. So there is a sense of justice, but it’s only partial.”
The Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit
The claims in Ms. Grossberg’s lawsuit span a period that came months after the messages in the Dominion case, which include text messages and emails from Fox leadership, producers and network stars privately acknowledging that the On-air segments validating 2020 election conspiracy theories are bogus despite being aired uncritically on the network.
In Carlson’s case, he privately ridiculed and insulted network guests who made false claims about Dominion, including Donald Trump, while providing a huge platform for his allies’ false attempts to overturn the election results.
In one message, Carlson calls election conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell a “f ****** b ****”.
Last year, when she sat for a deposition in the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit, a Dominion attorney showed Ms. Grossberg the message.
When asked how she felt about that language or if she had heard that language from Carlson, Ms. Grossberg said she had just started working on his show and declined to speculate how she might react, according to her complaint.
The day after his deposition, on September 14, 2022, an email was sent to Tucker Carlson tonight personal in recognition of “Abby Day” for standing up for the host.
Wells later confirmed that he was the person who received Carlson’s message, according to his complaint.
On Nov. 19, 2021, Carlson concluded his broadcast by saying that “maybe Sidney Powell will come forward soon with details about exactly how it happened, and precisely who did it. We are certainly confident that he will.
He later shared a tweet by former Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich “fact-checking” one of Donald Trump’s tweets that falsely exposed voter fraud; you correctly stated that “there is no evidence that any voting system has canceled or lost votes, changed votes or been compromised in any way”.
Carlson tried to get her fired.
“Please get her fired,” Carlson wrote. “Seriously… What the f**k? actually shocked … It has to end immediately, like tonight. It is measurably hurting the company. The share price is falling. It’s not a joke.
On January 6, 2021, following a violent riot at the United States Capitol fueled by fraudulent election fiction, Carlson wrote in a message to his producer that Donald Trump is “a demonic force, a destroyer. But he will not destroy us. Later that month, Carlson invited prolific voter fraud conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell on his broadcast.