Erstwhile television host Tucker Carlson may have gotten too big for his britches at Fox News, and the network is reportedly poised to punish him for it.
Carlson was abruptly fired Monday, prompting much speculation as to why. He had featured prominently in court documents released by Dominion Voting Systems that showed he knew he was spreading falsehoods about the 2020 election on his show. Documents also revealed Carlson privately (and regularly) bashed Fox executives.
He went so far as to refer to one executive as the c-word. When Fox News lawyers told him they had persuaded the court to redact the slur from the legal filings, Carlson was angry, the The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. He wanted everyone to know just how much he despised that executive, according to the Journal.
The Journal, citing anonymous sources, said that “reservations had been mounting” about Carlson. There was concern among top executives that if any of the redacted information about him in the Dominion filings became public, it would be damaging to the network. But there were also concerns that “the populist firebrand had come to believe himself bigger than the network—a cardinal sin in Fox Corp.”
Media Matters senior fellow Matt Gertz suggested that Carlson may have directed the slur at Irena Briganti, who leads Fox’s Communications Department, given other text messages in the court filings. Briganti is notoriously combative, and many former Fox employees have accused her of planting negative stories about them after they left the network. Multiple women who work at Fox told New York magazine in 2016 that they did not speak out about past sexual harassment because “they were terrified Briganti would find out and smear them in the press.”
Briganti is also known for compiling dossiers of damaging information on individual Fox employees—and she might have one on Carlson. Rolling Stone reported Wednesday that Fox has assembled an “oppo file” on Carlson that they are prepared to publish should he try to attack the network.
The file reportedly includes internal complaints about workplace conduct, insulting comments made about executives and colleagues, and allegations that Carlson created a toxic work environment, according to Rolling Stone, which cited anonymous sources. If it’s true, then the file’s contents mirror allegations made about Carlson by Abby Grossberg, a former producer on his show.
Grossberg is suing Fox, where she worked for four years, alleging that company lawyers coerced her into giving misleading testimony in the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit. The move, she argued, was due to a culture of “poisonous and entrenched patriarchy” and gender-based discrimination, citing multiple examples from Carlson’s team in particular. She also said that there were constant “lies and deceit” at Fox because the network prioritized ratings above all else.