Tucker Carlson is on Fox News.
After the mourning choruses of doomsayers and giddy celebrants died down Monday, the question of why Carlson was reportedly fired still lingered.
While there’s no definitive answer to that question right now, there are a few contenders that may, in part or in full, explain why the conservative cable news network removed its biggest star without giving him so much as a goodbye tweet. .
But first, the context.
Fox News announced that it was “parting ways” with Carlson in a statement Monday morning.
The statement confirmed that Carlson’s last show occurred the previous Friday, and he ended up eating pizza with Pennsylvania delivery man Tyler Morrell, who was honored after he helped police apprehend a suspected carjacker.
At the end of the segment, Carlson told his viewers that he would see them again on Monday.
The language of the statement, and subsequent comments by Fox News anchors, seemed to imply that Carlson and Fox mutually parted ways, though the statement lacked comment from Carlson. Subsequent details suggested that Carlson was surprised by the decision, which reportedly came from the top of the network as late as Monday morning.
Why did Fox News drop Carlson?
It seems Carlson doesn’t even know the answer to that question; vanity fair reports that Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott did not reveal to her the exact reason he was fired.
The most likely theory is the one that places the blame squarely on Carlson’s shoulders: The allegations of rampant misogyny in the workplace have finally caught up with him.
The seeds of Carlson’s demise online may have been planted in a lawsuit; not the Fox-Dominion lawsuit, whose settlement cost the network $787.7 million, but lesser-known litigation brought by a former producer.
Abby Grossberg, who previously worked on Carlson’s show, sued Fox News, alleging that Carlson and his producer, Justin Wells, had displayed rampant misogyny and anti-Semitism in the workplace.
Ms. Grossberg claims in a federal court filing that Carlson’s show “subjugates women on the basis of vile sexist stereotypes” and “pigeons” religious minorities and “disparages their traditions.”
The filing includes examples of the alleged misconduct, such as being asked by Wells if then-Fox News host Maria Bartiromo, whom Gorssberg previously worked for, slept with House Majority Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
She said people in Carlson’s shop made crude comments about the appearance of female politicians and theorized about which ones had risen to their positions in government.
Ms. Grossberg also said that her direct supervisor, Alex McCaskill, mocked an Israeli colleague for going off to the Jewish holidays. She further suggested that the colleague’s visit to a “Jewish bakery” was for him to “see his people.”
Further building the case for rampant misogyny in Carlson’s orbit are allegations that the host, allegations he apparently confirmed during a deposition with Dominion’s lawyers, frequently called out the MAGA conspiracy theorist and the infamous lawyer “kraken” Sidney Powell a “c***”, according to the daily beast.
What is most compelling about this theory is that Wells, who is a leading figure in the Grossberg lawsuit, was fired along with Carlson on Monday.
Fox News issued a statement to the independent responding to the assertions of Ms. Grossberg.
“FOX News retained independent outside counsel to promptly investigate the concerns raised by Ms. Grossberg, which were made following a critical performance review,” a spokesperson said. “Their allegations in connection with the Dominion case are unfounded and we will continue to vigorously defend Fox against their meritless legal claims that are riddled with false accusations against the network and our employees.”
He drove Rupert Murdoch crazy with religious rhetoric
Carlson often mixed nationalism, white supremacist conspiracy theories and paranoia of conservative Christian persecution into a hodgepodge of hate and fear, and he did so again during the Heritage Foundation’s 50th anniversary gala on Friday.
It may have gone too far.
A source claiming to be familiar with Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch’s decision to can Carlson said vanity fair that the religious nature of the presenter’s comments made the boss uncomfortable and led to his dismissal.
Carlson spoke in absolutist terms, about right and wrong, and suggested that people who support trans existence are simply incapable of reasoning with them. He told the crowd to pray for them.
He also compared abortions to child sacrifice.
“That scares Rupert. He is not into all the spiritual talk,” the source told the publication.
Murdoch reportedly freaked out in a similar way after his now-ex-fiancée pulled out a Bible over dinner and began reading aloud passages from the Book of Exodus, according to vanity fair.
The source theorized that Carlson’s scatological musings reminded Mr Murdoch of the incident and left him uneasy about keeping anchor in the air.
Carlson’s criticism of Fox News leadership
Another major theory is that Carlson was fired in the wake of the Dominion lawsuit because of his strong criticism of Fox News’ leadership. Those comments were made public by reporters who obtained court documents related to the Dominion lawsuit.
A person familiar with company logic said the washington post that Fox News higher-ups did not take his comments lightly and that they “played a role” in his firing.
“Do executives understand how much credibility and trust we have lost with our audience?” Carlson wrote in a message the day after Fox News called the 2020 election for Joe Biden.
He later said that “those f****** are destroying our credibility” and complained that there was a “combination of incompetent liberals and senior leaders too proud to back down” causing problems on the network.
Further complicating Carlson’s role as Fox News’ lead anchor, the texts revealed that he secretly hated Donald Trump and hoped for a time when the network could ignore the former president.
There is a section of redacted texts that could contain more, and more damning, comments from Carlson. Those texts are only known to Fox News, Dominion’s lawyers and the people who sent the messages, according to vanity fair. It’s unclear, and may never be, whether those messages played any role in Carlson’s downfall.
Both explanations suggest that Carlson dug his own grave with Fox News. He has his own theory about why he was fired, one that leaves him less guilty, which suggests that the sons of Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch want to sanitize the network to prepare it for a sale once his father passes away. .
Murdoch’s Theory of Children
In a theory that could easily serve as a story arc on HBO SuccessionCarlson reportedly believes he was removed from the network because Murdoch’s sons plan to sell the company, according to vanity fair.
It’s no secret that Carlson is divisive among advertisers. He is frequently hounded with claims that he is misogynistic, transphobic, racist and offers apologetic defenses of nefarious actors such as those accused of the Capitol riots and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Advertisers stopped buying airtime on Fox News in 2018 after Carlson said immigration makes America “dirtier” and periodic calls from the public to boycott advertisers have caused his sponsors to dwindle ever since.
“The show has almost no big-name advertisers right now,” said Kara Alaimo, a public relations expert who teaches at Hofstra University. New York Times in 2020. “This is not an issue you want to be on the wrong side of, if you’re a mainstream brand.”
According to Carlson’s theory, if Murdoch’s sons want to sell Fox News for maximum profit, the brand must become less toxic to big advertisers. That means he needed to go.
There is currently no public indication that Murdoch’s sons plan to sell the company.
Possible Ray Epps defamation lawsuit
The night before Carlson was fired, Ray Epps, a 66-year-old man who attended the Donald Trump rally that preceded the riot on Capitol Hill and later became the focus of a conservative conspiracy theory that changed his life , told 60 Minutes that the former Fox News host was “obsessed” with him and was trying to “destroy” his life.
In short, the conspiracy theory alleges that Mr. Epps is actually a federal plant who was sent to the march to incite riots on Capitol Hill, painting Trump supporters in a bad light and justifying the mass arrests and trials that ensued. they followed.
Epps, a Trump supporter, was captured on video on the day of the march telling other Trump loyalists that the police were not their enemy and warning against escalation.
That hasn’t stopped him from being the target of near-constant harassment and death threats from conservatives, some of whom probably only know about him thanks to Carlson’s regular push of conspiracy theory on his show.
Fox News has already paid the largest libel settlement in US history to Dominion Voting Systems. If Mr. Epps were to sue Carlson and Fox News for defamation, he could force the company to make another massive payment to avoid further public embarrassment similar to what he experienced in the Dominion case.