The free speech battle between Fox News and former primetime host Tucker Carlson heated up on Tuesday after the appearance of the first episode of “Tucker on Twitter.” The 10-minute monologue posted to Twitter received huge engagement and spotlighted the contentious relationship between the two parties.
In the video, Carlson focused on the importance of free speech and the need to amplify voices outside of the legacy media. Shortly after, Fox News general counsel Bernard Gugar sent a letter to Carlson’s legal team, accusing him of breaching his contract with the network which runs until 2025.
The letter stated: “This evening we were made aware of Mr. Tucker Carlson’s appearance on Twitter in a video that lasted over 10 minutes. Pursuant to the terms of the Agreement, Mr. Carlson’s ‘services shall be completely exclusive to Fox.’”
Carlson’s contract reportedly prohibited him from rendering services over the Internet, via streaming or other digital distribution. Fox News maintains that Carlson’s use of Twitter is a breach of contract and that he is not free to promote his commentary on another platform.
Carlson’s lawyers however argue that Fox News’s attempt to block his freedom of speech is not in line with the network’s own ethical foundations. Attorney Bryan Freedman in a statement, expressed the network’s hypocrisy: “Fox defends its very existence on freedom of speech grounds. 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.”
Fox News abruptly took Carlson off the air in April, and Carlson’s legal team has accused the network of fraud and breach of contract. Clearly, both parties are locked in a heated dispute and it remains to be seen how this battle of free speech will end.
“In journalism, curiosity is the gravest crime,” Carlson said. “As of today, we’ve come to Twitter, which we hope will be the short-wave radio under the blankets. We’re told there are no gatekeepers here. If that turns out to be false, we’ll leave. But in the meantime, we are grateful to be here.”
However, Tucker Carlson has been defiant and posted a second episode just days later.
Ep. 2 Cling to your taboos! pic.twitter.com/45AeVdtwOu
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) June 8, 2023