Carlson is still under contract with the network. He was pulled from the air suddenly in April, though his contract runs until 2025. Carlson has accused Fox News of fraud and breach of contract for canceling his show.
Fox News general counsel Bernard Gugar sent a letter to Carlson’s legal team shortly after the first episode of “Tucker on Twitter” was posted, according to Axios, which obtained a copy of the letter.
“This evening we were made aware of Mr. Tucker Carlson’s appearance on Twitter in a video that lasted over 10 minutes,” Gugar’s letter says. “Pursuant to the terms of the Agreement, Mr. Carlson’s ‘services shall be completely exclusive to Fox.’”
Carlson’s contract, according to the letter, says the former host is “prohibited from rendering services of any type whatsoever, whether ‘over the internet via streaming or similar distribution, or other digital distribution whether now known or hereafter devised.’”
Carlson’s attorneys believe “Tucker on Twitter” does not fall under the Fox News contract controls because Twitter is not a direct competitor with the network, a source familiar with the legal team’s thinking told Axios.
“Fox defends its very existence on freedom of speech grounds. Now they want to take Tucker Carlson’s right to speak freely away from him because he took to social media to share his thoughts on current events,” Carlson lawyer Bryan Freedman said in a statement.
The letter from Fox News is the latest twist in an increasingly bruising legal battle between the network and one of its most popular personalities. After being taken off the air, Carlson accused the network in a letter through his attorneys of making false promises to the host “intentionally and with reckless disregard for the truth.” The letter said Fox News executives made “material representations” to Carlson that were later intentionally broken.
Carlson’s first episode of his new Twitter show gained roughly 90 million impressions by Wednesday evening. An impression does not mean someone watched the 10-minute monologue, but Carlson’s reach on the social media platform is substantial.
In his monologue, Carlson focused on the importance of free speech and voices outside of legacy media.
“In journalism, curiosity is the gravest crime,” Carlson said. “As of today, we’ve come to Twitter, which we hope will be the short-wave radio under the blankets. We’re told there are no gatekeepers here. If that turns out to be false, we’ll leave. But in the meantime, we are grateful to be here.”