UPDATED: Tucker Carlson announced that he will bring a version of his Fox News show — which he lost after getting fired last month — on Twitter, the social platform owned by Elon Musk.
“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 said in a video shared Tuesday on the platform. “Free speech is the main right you have. Without it, you have no others.”
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According to Musk, Twitter does not have a deal with Carlson. “[W]e have not signed a deal of any kind whatsoever. Tucker is subject to the same rules & rewards of all content creators,” Musk tweeted Tuesday.
Before Carlson was fired, the Twitter CEO appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” for a two-night interview on Fox News (on April 17 and 18). Among other topics, their discussion covered the implications of AI and Musk’s rationale for buying Twitter.
Carlson would forfeit at least $25 million in compensation to break his noncompete clause with Fox News, according to Puck News’ Dylan Byers. Prior to Carlson’s announcement of the forthcoming Twitter show, a lawyer for the former Fox News host sent a letter to the cable network accusing Fox News of “fraud and breach of contract,” Axios reported. That is presumably intended to set the stage for Carlson to claim he’s not bound by the noncompete provision of his contract with Fox News.
Fox News did not respond to a request for comment.
Carlson was fired by Fox News just days after the company agreed to pay $787.5 million to settle Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit, which alleged Fox News repeatedly and knowingly aired false claims about the voting company’s actions and influence on the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
The letter from Carlson’s lawyer to Fox News claimed that the network’s employees including “Rupert Murdoch himself” broke promises to Carlson “intentionally and with reckless disregard for the truth,” per the Axios report. The letter also claimed Fox News broke its promises to not to settle with Dominion “in a way which would indicate wrongdoing” on the part of Carlson and to not to use Carlson’s private messages “to take any adverse employment action against him,” according to the Axios report.
In his Twitter video, captioned “We’re back,” Carlson said that traditional news is “a lie” because “facts have been withheld on purpose,” and he claimed that Twitter is the only major service where free speech is allowed.
“Amazingly, as of tonight, there aren’t many platforms left that allow free speech,” Carlson said. “The last big one remaining in the world — the only one — is Twitter, where we are now. Twitter has long served where our national conversation incubates and develops… and yet for the most part, the news that you see analyzed on Twitter comes from media organizations that are themselves thinly disguised propaganda outlets.”
Carlson was let go by Fox News two weeks ago. He had sent a text to a producer that marked the beginning of the end of his relationship with the network, according to a New York Times report. The text, which Carlson sent on Jan. 7, 2021, in the hours after Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol, described a scene the TV host found distressing, in which he said “Trump guys” beat up an “Antifa kid.” But the part that upset him was that “it was three against one,” and “it’s not how white men fight.”
Musk, in commenting on Tucker’s Twitter show announcement, said “I hope that many others, particularly from the left, also choose to be content creators on this platform.” Twitter lets creators charge subscriptions for exclusive content; Musk said creators also will soon get a cut of ad revenue associated with their content.
Musk is a self-described “free-speech absolutist” who, before he bought Twitter, complained that the social network engaged in a pattern of censoring conservative viewpoints. He closed the $44 billion takeover of Twitter last fall. “I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law,” Musk wrote in a tweet last year. “If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect. Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people.”
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