By Nicole Trinkl
Top-rated news anchor Tucker Carlson was suddenly fired from Fox News Network on April 24 following ongoing controversies surrounding his show and comments he had made on and off-air.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the decision to fire Carlson was made by Fox Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan, executive chairman of Fox Corporation, and Suzanne Scott, chief executive of Fox News Media.
Carlson's dismissal from Fox comes after Fox News Network agreed to a $787.5 million settlement to resolve the defamation lawsuit Dominion filed against Fox in March 2021 that claimed Fox News was spreading false election claims.
Private text messages by Carlson shown in a redacted case document of the Dominion Voting System Lawsuit revealed offensive remarks he and other Fox personalities made about former colleagues and public figures, providing evidence that he often did not support or believe everything he was saying in his shows. These revelations provided a lot of controversy and embarrassment for the network.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Fox News lawyers redacted a file for the court case revealing that Carlson had referred to a senior Fox Executive as a C-word. Carlson was also called out for sending a private message indicating his dislike of Donald Trump, texting “I hate him passionately.” Carlson clarified that what he texted about Trump was said in a quick moment of anger. These are just some comments Carlson has been criticized for saying.
It is unclear what the specific reason for Carlson's firing was. People, including Fox personnel, expressed various concerns toward Carlson's attitude of believing he could say whatever he wanted on his shows. There have been multiple instances where Carlson has pushed conspiracy theories on his show, one being his claim about the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection in the U.S. Capitol, where Carlson suggested federal agents incited the violence.
There have also been multiple instances where Carlson has made discriminatory and insensitive comments toward different marginalized groups on his show. In one recent incident, Carlson had suggested in a segment that Tennessee Lawmaker Justin Pearson only got into Bowdoin College because of the color of his skin.
According to the New York Times, Carlson's firing also comes in the midst of a discrimination lawsuit filed against him by Abby Grossberg, former head of booking for Carlson’s show, in which Grossberg claims she was subjected to working in a hostile and discriminatory environment. After filing two lawsuits against Fox in March, she was fired. Grossberg claims that Carlson referred to women inappropriately and frequently made anti-semitic jokes.
These are just some reasons why Carlson may have been dismissed from the Network. Two days after his termination, Carlson responded on Twitter with a video message where he did not directly mention his firing.
“The undeniably big topics, the ones that will define our future, get virtually no discussion at all…[They] are not permitted in American Media. Both political parties and their donors have reached consensus on what benefits them,” Carlson said.
Similarly, Don Lemon was also abruptly fired from CNN on the same day following controversies and comments he had made on air.
According to AP, Don Lemon was fired from CNN following comments he had made about Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor and 2024 presidential election candidate, in which he said during a segment that she wasn’t “in her prime.”
Haley criticized Lemon's comment, tweeting “To women everywhere, don’t ever let anyone tell you you're past your prime.” She even went as far as to use what Lemon said and tweet a design of a beer koozie using the phrase “past my prime” to sell and raise money for her presidential campaign.
Lemon publicly apologized to Haley on Twitter for his comment, explaining how he regretted what he said about her. It is unclear if this event was the only reason for Lemon's firing from the network.
On the day of his firing, Lemon released a statement on Twitter indicating that management never told him he would be fired and believed “some larger issues [were] at play.” CNN Communications replied saying that he was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead resorted to releasing a statement.
Both Carlson and Lemon were fired as a result of the comments they made on their respective network shows. Their firings are not isolated incidents and show what networks are willing to do to hold anchors accountable for what they say and do.