Fox News announced on Monday that it was firing its top on-air anchor, Tucker Carlson. However, the final decision was officially made on Friday night between the CEO of Fox News, Suzanne Scott, and the CEO of Fox Corporation, Lachlan Murdoch.
Carlson, who hosted the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show in the 8 p.m. time slot, had his last appearance on the network on Friday night. In a statement the network released announcing Carlson’s departure, they didn’t give a reason for why he was fired so abruptly.
Many people have speculated that Carlson was let go due to his involvement in incidents that led to Fox News being sued for $1.5 billion by Dominion Voting Systems – a case the network ultimately settled for almost $800 million last week.
Sources close to the situation told media outlet Mediate that the two CEOs had a discussion Friday night about Carlson’s fate. That happened after the tumultuous week that the network went through leading up to its settlement with Dominion.
The Wall Street Journal published a report that provided some more specifics on the situation. According to the outlet, Fox News renewed Carlson’s contract back in 2021. As a result of his firing, he’ll be paid out the remainder of that contract.
Sources said that Carlson is receiving roughly $20 million per year from that contract. Those same sources said that Carlson only learned that he was being fired roughly 10 minutes in advance of Fox News making the announcement public.
Fox News’ short statement didn’t provide many details at all, only saying:
“We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.”
Many people have begun to speculate as to what led to Carlson’s departure at Fox News. While many details are still emerging, many insiders have told media outlets that Carlson stirred the pot inside the office a lot. That, combined with the fact that he played into conspiracy theories so much, made him somewhat of a pariah at Fox News.
In a recent example of this, Carlson had been casting the people involved in the January 6, 2021, riots at the U.S. Capitol building as the ultimate victims, instead of perpetrators.
Another big potential reason for Fox News firing Carlson was the revelation that many of his private emails and text messages were obtained during discovery in the defamation trial by lawyers representing Dominion. Those communications showed that Carlson routinely trashed the leadership at the network, used many derogatory terms to describe women and even revealed that he “hates” former President Donald Trump.
Many people have celebrated Carlson’s firing. The Anti-Defamation League’s leader, Jonathan Greenblatt, said that it was “about time” that Fox News fired Carlson.
He added that “for far too long [Carlson has] used his primetime show to spew antisemitic, racist, xenophobic and anti-LGBTQ hate to millions.”
It’s likely that Carlson will latch on with some network in the future, though which network that will be and when it might happen are up in the air at this point.