Live Updates: Fox News Parts Ways With Tucker Carlson Days After Dominion Settlement
Fox News said Monday that it was parting ways with Tucker Carlson, its most popular prime time host who was also the source of repeated controversies and headaches for the network because of his statements on everything from race relations to L.G.B.T.Q. rights.
The network made the announcement less than a week after it agreed to pay $787.5 million in a defamation lawsuit in which Mr. Carlson’s show, one of the highest rated on Fox, figured prominently for its role in spreading misinformation after the 2020 election.
In making its announcement, Fox offered a terse statement of gratitude. “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 said.
His abrupt departure stunned people inside Fox News and in the broader conservative media universe, where Mr. Carlson had considerable power to elevate candidates and controversies. His position at the network appeared to grow untenable quickly. Fox had been promoting an interview Mr. Carlson was set to do on Monday with Vivek Ramaswamy, a Republican candidate for president in 2024.
His last program was on Friday, Fox said.
Mr. Carlson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Fox News host Harris Faulkner said on air on Monday that starting that evening, an interim show, “Fox News Tonight,” would fill the 8 p.m. hour “with rotating Fox News personalities until a new host is named.”
It wasn’t just Mr. Carlson’s words on the air that got him in trouble. His private messages with producers — in which they denigrated former President Donald J. Trump and his legal advisers after the 2020 election in vulgar and sexist terms — were disclosed as part of the defamation lawsuit against Fox by Dominion Voting Systems. In one exchange with staff, Mr. Carlson texted about Mr. Trump: “I hate him passionately.” In another, he labeled Mr. Trump “a demonic force, a destroyer.”
His departure brings to an end a rapid and controversial rise at the conservative news and opinion channel, where Mr. Carlson was promoted to the prime-time lineup in late 2016 and quickly emerged as one of the major media stars of the Trump era.
More than any other Fox host, Mr. Carlson drew in viewers by harnessing cultural anxieties and racial grievances of the former president’s political base. He warned his viewers that they were under assault from liberal elites and unchecked immigration, borrowing some of his central themes from the white nationalist and far-right web and polishing them up for a more mainstream audience.
When Fox launched a streaming network, Fox Nation, to milk more revenue out of its most loyal fans, it was Mr. Carlson who became the new platform’s top personality, with a thrice-weekly talk show and periodic documentaries that doubled down on his themes of duplicitous elites and race-obsessed liberals.
At his height within Fox, he defied the network’s senior leadership while cultivating the impression among colleagues that he was close with the Murdoch family, particularly Fox chief Lachlan Murdoch. He also wielded his stature to bully and pressure more junior colleagues on the news side when they challenged the show’s powerful opinion hosts or reported — accurately — on the 2020 election results.
Mr. Carlson is also facing a lawsuit from a former Fox News producer, Abby Grossberg, who claims that he presided over a misogynistic and discriminatory workplace culture. Ms. Grossberg said in the lawsuit, which was filed in March, that on her first day working for Mr. Carlson, she discovered the work space was decorated with large pictures of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wearing a plunging swimsuit. Ms. Grossberg said Mr. Carlson’s staff frequently used a vulgar term for women, and that she was once called into the top producer’s office to be asked whether Maria Bartiromo, a Fox Business host she previously worked for, was having a sexual relationship with the House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy.
Ms. Grossberg, who was fired after filing the lawsuit, also claimed that after she was coerced by Fox’s lawyers into providing a misleading deposition in the Dominion case and defending an offensive text from Mr. Carlson, his producers emailed the rest of the staff in recognition of “Abby Day” and suggested ordering a staff lunch to celebrate.
Fox has disputed Ms. Grossberg’s claims. A spokeswoman said in a recent statement: “We will continue to vigorously defend Fox against Ms. Grossberg’s unmeritorious legal claims, which are riddled with false allegations against Fox and our employees.”
Mr. Carlson, 53, had helmed his prime time show “Tucker Carlson Tonight” since 2016. In 2021, he signed a new deal with Fox News expanding into podcasts and a series called “Tucker Carlson Originals” for the streaming service Fox Nation.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.