$787 million settlement with Fox News rested on an unwritten agreement to fire Tucker Carlson: Variety

  • Tucker Carlson's ouster at Fox News was reportedly linked to a secret deal with Dominion Voting Systems.

  • According to Variety, Dominion made Carlson's departure an unwritten condition of its settlement with Fox.

  • Both Dominion and Fox strongly denied the report.

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson's ouster was reportedly linked to the new channel's $787 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, according to Variety.

Variety cited multiple unnamed sources who were aware of an April 26 conversation Carlson had with an unnamed member of Fox Corporation's board who reportedly told Carlson about the agreement. According to Variety, the condition was not formally written down in any of the case's settlement documents. Instead, Carlson's ouster as the highest-rated cable news host was based on a verbal agreement. If Fox didn't follow through, Dominion would not have settled with the company.

"That condition was intended to hurt Fox, and Tucker is just collateral damage," a source told Variety. "Dominion wanted to punish Fox, and it's working."

Dominion and Fox Corporation strongly deny any such agreement was ever in place.

"As the Fox principals who negotiated the settlement well know, Dominion made no demands about Tucker Carlson's employment orally or in writing," Dominion said in a statement to the outlet. "Any claims otherwise are categorically false and a thinly veiled effort to further damage Dominion. Fox should take every effort to stop these lies immediately."

Carlson announced last week that he will host a show on Twitter, a move that could violate his Fox contract.

While Carlson's abrupt departure came just days after Dominion's settlement, there are reasons to be skeptical that the two events are explicitly linked. Carlson's show was responsible for just one of the 20 allegedly defamatory statements that Dominion cited. 

Carlson's private text messages, especially his frustration with Trump, dominated headlines about the historic case, but the bulk of Dominion's argument was based on comments made by Lou Dobbs. Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro also had more of their comments called out than Carlson.

Fox canceled Dobbs' show on Fox Business in February 2021, a day after Smartmatic, another voting machine company, filed suit against Fox, Dobbs, Bartiromo, and Pirro. Pirro's solo show ended and she is now a co-host on "The Five." Bartiromo continues to anchor a daily Fox Business program and a weekly Fox News show among other duties.

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