In a letter sent to Fox News executives on Tuesday, Tucker Carlson’s attorneys accused the network of breach of contract and fraud. The letter claims that Fox News’ actions free Carlson from a non-compete clause, which is part of his ongoing contract with the network. Axios reported that the letter alleges senior employees, including Rupert Murdoch himself, broke promises to the former prime-time host “intentionally and with reckless disregard for the truth.”
The letter, sent by attorney Bryan Freedman to Fox executives Viet Dinh and Irena Briganti, claims the network broke an agreement with Carlson not to leak his private messages to the media. A series of damaging texts emerged during and after the defamation trial filed by Dominion Voting Systems, which reportedly played heavily into his dismissal.
“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 reads.
The letter was sent just before Carlson announced on Twitter that he would launch a new version of his Fox News program on the social media giant. Carlson said that Elon Musk’s company was the last in the world that would allow him to speak. However, doing so would appear to violate Carlson’s ongoing contract with Fox even after he was dismissed. The contract doesn’t expire until January 2025, and Fox could continue to pay him to keep him from launching his own enterprise or working for a competitor.
“Starting soon we’ll be bringing a new version of the show we’ve been doing for the last six and a half years to Twitter,” Carlson told his followers. “The best you can hope for in the news business at this point is the freedom to tell the fullest truth that you can. But there are always limits. And you know that if you bump up against those limits often enough, you will be fired for it. That’s not a guess — it’s guaranteed.”
Musk said after the announcement that Twitter had not signed any type of deal with Carlson, although he added any user would be able to “interact, critique and refute whatever is said,” unlike the “one-way street of broadcast.”
“Tucker is subject to the same rules & rewards of all content creators,” Musk said. “Rewards means subscriptions and advertising revenue share (coming soon), which is a function of how many people subscribe and the advertising views associated with the content.”
He extended that pledge to “many others,” including those on the left.
The accusations against Fox News come after Carlson was fired from the network following a defamation trial filed by Dominion Voting Systems. The trial was filed after Carlson made false claims about Dominion’s voting machines being rigged in favor of Democrats during the 2020 presidential election. The trial resulted in a $2.7 billion judgment against Fox News, which Carlson was not a party to.
The accusations against Fox News also come amid a wider debate over the role of social media in the news business. Twitter has been criticized for allowing false and misleading information to spread on its platform, while Facebook has faced criticism for its role in spreading misinformation during the 2016 presidential election.
In a statement, a Fox News spokesperson said the network “categorically denies” the allegations made by Carlson’s attorneys.
“We will vigorously defend against these baseless accusations and look forward to presenting our case in court,” the spokesperson said. “We stand by our decision to terminate Mr. Carlson’s contract and will continue to uphold our journalistic standards and practices.”
The spokesperson added that the network has “no further comment at this time.”