Fox News, none too please with ousted host Tucker Carlson's new Twitter show, has sent him a cease-and-desist letter. Perhaps the network was triggered when they found out their former conspiracy theorist received a total of 169 million views [oops, see update below] for his first two episodes, which compete with Fox's misinformation. But according to Axios, who first broke the story, Carlson did breach his contract with Fox, who still pays him and "maintains that his contract keeps his content exclusive to Fox through Dec. 31, 2024."
Of course Carlson, via his lawyers, are outraged. "Doubling down on the most catastrophic programming decision in the history of the cable news industry, Fox is now demanding that Tucker Carlson be silent until after the 2024 election," Carlson lawyer Harmeet Dhillon told Axios.
"Tucker will not be silenced by anyone," she continued. "He is a singularly important voice on matters of public interest in our country, and will remain so."
From NBC News:
Fox News general counsel Bernard Gugar said the former prime-time host was "in breach" of his contract with the network. The contract, signed in November 2019 and amended in February 2021, limits his ability to appear on other media outlets.
In a statement, Bryan Freedman — another attorney for Carlson — insisted that any legal action by Fox News would infringe on the television personality's First Amendment rights.
"Fox defends its very existence on freedom of speech grounds," Freedman said. "Now they want to take Tucker Carlson's right to speak freely away from him because he took to social media to share his thoughts on current events."
[UPDATE: 10:35 am] – According to Mediate, the 169 million viewers touted by Carlson and crew are actually fudged:
…according to Twitter, if you watch a video for two seconds, with only half the video player in-view, you count as one video view.
The tweet view metric is even less valuable. It merely counts how many people viewed the tweet, so if you scrolled past Carlson's video on Twitter, you counted as one of the 114 million. "Anyone who is logged into Twitter who views a Tweet counts as a view," Twitter says. If you scrolled past the tweet multiple times, you counted more than once.
Presumably, a small fraction of that big number watched even part of the clip. Twitter did not respond to a request for comment on the video's metrics.