'No-win situation': Tucker Carlson’s new project ignites animosity
After Fox News' fired its top-rated host Tucker Carlson in April, many reporters wondered if he would resurface at another right-wing outlet — perhaps Newsmax or One America News (OAN), both Fox competitors. Then, on Tuesday, May 9, Carlson announced that he plans to relaunch his canceled show on Twitter.
That announcement, according to The Hill's Dominick Mastrangelo, has made the animosity between Carlson and Fox News even worse. And it raises questions about the specifics of Carlson's contract with his former employer.
After Carlson made his announcement, Axios reported that his attorney, Bryan Freedman, had sent Fox News a letter accusing them of breaching his contract. Mastrangelo reports, however, that some legal experts believe Carlson may be the one violating the terms of that agreement.
In an article published by The Hill on May 11, Mastrangelo explains, "Outside observers familiar with media contracts in general say Carlson could be in breach of his contract with Fox by taking his show to Twitter. But some said it would be a difficult business decision for Fox to go after him."
A media executive, interviewed on condition of anonymity, argues that getting into a legal battle with Carlson would anger Fox News' viewers — many of whom hated to see him go.
That source told The Hill, "Fox can either let him flagrantly violate his contract or sue him and get on the wrong side of any viewers that have stuck with them through his firing…. From a contractual standpoint, Fox's position is probably the right one. But from a PR standpoint, Tucker's point is probably the right one — which is why they should have never let it get this far in the first place."
Similarly, a GOP strategist, also quoted anonymously, stresses that a legal fight with Carlson would alienate Fox News' audience.
The strategist told The Hill, "This is a no-win situation for Fox. If Fox fights this out in the court and they try and say, 'Tucker is in breach' — and they try to gag him — that's going to blow back on them in a big way with their core audience."
In the workplace, a non-compete clause is one in which the employee agrees to not work for a competitor for a specified period of time after the employment has ended. A media-related non-compete could last six months, a year or longer. On January 5, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed a ban on non-competes.
Legal expert Peter Rahbar, known for negotiating major media contracts, told The Hill, "For Carlson to sit out for a year and half while his contract expires is a no-go. Actually litigating this case is a really bad option for Tucker. There will be a lot of pressure to settle this from his side, but I don't think Fox is going to be in a rush to do so."