Tucker Carlson discussed trying to steer the overall direction of Fox News in a more pro-Trump direction and threatening colleagues who didn’t go along with his vision following the 2020 election, according to text messages obtained as part of the now-settled Dominion Voting Systems defamation case against the network.
In the 19 November 2020 messages, obtained by The Daily Beast, Carlson reportedly responds to a message from producer Justin Wells regarding a story viewed as critical of Mr Trump, which featured references to “the growing number of coronavirus cases nationwide and the ongoing upheaval over President Trump’s refusal to concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden.”
“We’re not going to succeed if this continues,” Carlson allegedly said in the messages. “The brand will be too damaged. We should jump on a couple of examples just to send a clear message. Let’s start with this one. Can we find out who did this?”
I’m happy to start threatening people individually,” he added. “It’s too much. And again, it will hurt us badly if we let it continue.”
At the time, parts of the Fox News audience were in revolt after the conservative network accurately called certain early election results for Joe Biden.
The Independent has contacted Carlson for comment.
The alleged texts are the latest revelation from the Dominion suit, which Fox settled for $787.5m last month, and come as Carlson is planning his post-Fox future.
The wildly popular news commentator abruptly left Fox in April following the settlement. Fox News hasn’t explicitly described the reason for the split, but network execs were reportedly dismayed by Carlson’s criticisms of Fox leadership, and by racist and misogynistic comments revealed in private text messages.
Carlson announced this week he would relaunch a version of his show on Twitter.
The move means Carlson could forgo at least $25m from Fox Corp related to a non-compete clause in his previous contract, Puck News reports.
On Tuesday, commentator reportedly sent an aggressive letter to senior Fox News leaders on accusing the outlet of breaching his contract by allegedly leaking his private communications as part of an “adverse employment action against him,” and by settling with Dominion in a way that harmed Carlson’s reputation and future business prospects, Axios reports.