Tucker Carlson's Potential Breach-of-Contract Case Against Fox Stems from Phone Call by Network's Lawyer: Report
A phone call from a Fox News attorney to an associate of Tucker Carlson earlier this month spearheaded accusations of breach of contract the former top-rated host has lodged against his former employer, according to a report.
Axios reported that two weeks after Carlson was inexplicably ousted by the cable news giant, his high-powered attorney Bryan Freedman accused Fox News of breach of contract and “fraud” in a letter it described as “aggressive.”
The report claimed Freedman sent Fox the letter on May 9 and that he accused the company of breaking an agreement not to disparage Carlson after he was fired on April 24.
Soon after his ouster, private messages and videos from Carlson’s time at Fox News began to leak to left-wing outlets such as The New York Times and Media Matters.
The leaks appeared as though they were meant to damage Carlson, but in fact worked to further endear him to loyal fans.
Still, Freedman reportedly threatened potential legal action and declared Fox News had broken an agreement not “to take any adverse employment action against him” after his show was canceled.
Freedman also accused Fox Corporation CEO and founder Rupert Murdoch personally of acting “intentionally and with reckless disregard for the truth” regarding how the network handled the immediacy of Carlson’s exit.
A Friday report from The Daily Caller cited two sources close to the ongoing drama and claimed the letter sent by Freedman was actually initiated a week earlier after a phone call was placed by top Fox News attorney Viet Dinh.
The outlet reported Dinh placed a phone call May 3 to someone in Carlson’s orbit and asked that individual to relay a message to the network’s former star host.
Dinh reportedly wanted Carlson to know that the network was regretful about how his firing had played out publicly over the previous weeks.
Regarding the leaks, Vinh reportedly wanted Carlson to know, through the intermediary, that those leaks were “not authorized” by anyone in a leadership position at the company.
Dinh also reportedly asked the individual he contacted to tell Carlson that Fox News public relations head Irena Briganti – whom Carlson reportedly had issues with – had been warned she would be “fired” if she were caught leaking anything negative to the media
More importantly, per the report, Dinh allegedly admitted that Fox News executives suspected someone on the company’s board of directors was speaking to reporters about him anonymously.
Carlson’s team came up with two initial prime suspects in former House Speaker Paul Ryan and hedge fund manager Anne Dias.
The Daily Caller reported Carlson’s team later eliminated Ryan as the person who had leaked to the press and believed Dias was the person who had worked to undermine him.
Dias was appointed to the Fox Corporation board of directors in March 2019.
Freedman told The Daily Caller the leaks equated to a “smear campaign” against his client.
“It strains credulity that, immediately after agreeing to pay almost $780 million to settle serious allegations of misconduct [to Dominion Voting Systems] that a member of Fox’s Board of Directors would be engaging in an attempted smear campaign by illegally leaking information about Tucker Carlson,” Freedman told the Daily Caller, an outlet Carlson co-founded in 2010.
Carlson’s attorney added, “However, we have to trust that it is true when the Chief Legal Officer informs Tucker that he believes it to be the case.”
Per Axios’ initial reporting, Carlson wants out of his non-compete contract with Fox News immediately and not in January 2025, when it expires.
The reported admission from Dinh gave Freedman what he felt was ample evidence that Fox News had already breached the contract, which theoretically means Carlson is free and clear to pursue the next phase of his career.
No lawsuit has been filed by either party, but Carlson has announced he will begin airing some version of his show on Twitter in the coming weeks.
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