Tucker Carlson was blindsided by his firing from Fox News and learned of it on Monday morning shortly before it was announced, sources tell DailyMail.com.
Even some of his closest staff were unaware that his show had been axed, reading about it for the first time on Twitter.
‘No one I know was told about it beforehand. We were blindsided,’ one senior staffer who works closely with Tucker’s show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, told DailyMail.com.
Another insider revealed he still has no idea why he was let go so suddenly, and that many staffers are now questioning whether it’s part of a wider plan by the Murdoch family to sell the media behemoth.
‘Tucker still hasn’t been given any indication of why he was taken off the air. His producer Justin Wells was fired too.
‘We believe Rupert wants to sell the company and it’s harder to find an institutional buyer with Tucker as the main star.
‘Tucker gone makes it more of an appealing media company to buy,’ the source said.
Tucker Carlson is out at Fox News after reigning over the network as one of its most beloved hosts for nearly a decade. He is shown on his final show on April 21
Last month, booking producer Abby Grossberg filed a lawsuit against Fox that detailed specific claims about Carlson’s show
The Los Angeles Times reports that it was a combination of Carlson’s coverage of the January 6 riot and a recent lawsuit filed by Abby Grossberg, a former producer, who says she was subjected to sexism, bullying and anti-Semitism while working on the show.
The Times’ sources say Rupert Murdoch gave the order for Carlson to be shown the door.
Grossberg told DailyMail.com that Carlson’s firing looked to her like an ‘admission’ of guilty by the network.
‘This is a step towards accountability for the election lies and baseless conspiracy theories spread by Fox News, something I witnessed firsthand at the network, as well as for the abuse and harassment I endured while Head of Booking and Senior Producer for Tucker Carlson Tonight,’ Grossberg said.
‘I think this is great for America! It’s a big win for viewers of cable news, not just those who watch Fox.’
Grossberg’s lead attorney, Gerry Filippatos, said Carlson’s exit ‘indicates an unexpected, but welcome, expression of contrition towards Ms. Grossberg that we welcome and put in the category of ‘institutional change’ that we require to move us closer towards an amicable resolution of Ms. Grossberg’s lawsuits.
‘We have duly noted that movement and thank Fox News for it.
‘Today is a partial vindication for Ms. Grossberg, who was a journalist before she joined Fox News, and is now again after she was fired in retaliation for speaking the truth about the unlawful treatment she suffered there as a woman and a ‘represented’ witness under oath.’
Her other attorney, Tanvir Rahman, also of the firm Filippatos PLLC, said that Grossberg still planned to have Carlson deposed in her Southern District of New York (SDNY) federal lawsuit against him and Fox.
Among discovery submitted before the trial were text messages in which Carlson described his ‘passionate’ hatred of President Trump
Shares in Fox Corp, the network’s parent company, fell by 5 percent after the announcement – wiping $690million from its market value
‘Tucker Carlson’s departure from Fox News is, in part, an admission of the systemic lying, bullying, and conspiracy-mongering claimed by our client, former top producer, Abby Grossberg,’ Rahman said.
‘Mr. Carlson and his subordinates remain individual defendants in the S.D.N.Y. case and we look forward to taking their depositions under oath in the very near term.’
Seemingly unaware of his looming fate, he signed off his final show on Friday enthusiastically with: ‘That’s it for us for the week, we’ll be back!’
Justin Wells, his senior executive producer, has also confirmed his departure from the network.
Last month, Grossberg filed a lawsuit against Fox that detailed specific claims about Carlson’s show.
She complained about the pace of working on his show, and said it drove her to require therapy.
In mourning: Tucker’s fans and friends vowed to ‘follow him wherever he goes’ after the news of his departure today
Among allegations in her lawsuit – which Fox says it will vigorously contend – she recalled showing up to work for Carlson’s show and finding ‘many large and blown-up photographs of Nancy Pelosi in a plunging bathing suit revealing her cleavage.’
She also claimed producers on Carlson’s show made repeated, sexist remarks about female guests – including Michigan gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon – and said they called the mother’s room, where female employees can pump breastmilk, a ‘waste of space’.
In a shock announcement Monday, the network announced Carlson would not be returning.
‘FOX News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways. We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor,’ the network statement read.
An interim roster of hosts will take over in his absence until a permanent replacement is chosen. No other explanation has been given for his sudden departure after seven years at the top.
While liberals celebrated his departure, conservatives mourned his loss. Many of his die-hard viewers are now left wondering where to turn.
Shares in Fox Corp, the network’s parent company, fell by 5 percent after the announcement – wiping $690million from its market value.
Carlson’s departure comes just five days after Fox settled with Dominion Voting Systems which had sued for defamation, claiming hosts like Carlson knew President Trump’s election fraud claims were untrue, but pushed them for ratings.
Dominion sued for $1.6billion and settled for $787million at the 11th hour, narrowly avoiding an embarrassing and highly-publicized trial where Carlson and other hosts would likely have been called as witnesses.
His departure also comes just four days after that of Dan Bongino, and several months after Fox ‘parted ways’ with President Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara.
Among discovery submitted before the trial were text messages in which Carlson described his ‘passionate’ hatred of President Trump.
Carlson’s show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, was the gleaming jewel of Fox’s nightly line-up, drawing in 3.5million viewers every night.
But a series of recent controversies including the Dominion claims and his own comments about the January 6 riots led him into hotter water than even he was used to.
It’s unclear how long he had left on his contract, or whether Fox will pay severance.
A spokesman did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s inquiries.
A 2020 report by CNN’s Brian Stelter listed his salary as $10million-a-year.
Carlson joined Fox as a contributor in 2009, having previously offered his conservative opinions on CNN shows.
He was given his own show on the network in 2016 and quickly became its most watched host, cementing his own fanbase and reputation for taking some of the most extreme, hard-right positions on cable news.
In recent years, it has been dubbed by liberal media ‘the most racist show on cable’.
Advertisers boycotted as he grew more controversial, but Fox watched as the ratings soared.
Last week, his Thursday 8pm show attracted nearly 500,000 more viewers than Sean Hannity, Fox’s second most watched host, in the 9pm hour.
In 2010, he created the conservative news site The Daily Caller. He sold his stake in 2020, three years after being given his own Fox News show.
After the announcement of Carlson’s departure on Monday, shares in Fox Corp – Fox News’ parent company – fell by 4 percent from $33.71 to $31.86.
Rupert Murdoch is yet to comment on his departure.
Tucker was largely spared from his wrath in the Dominion filings.
Carlson with Neil Patel, his Daily Caller co-founder. They founded the site in 2010
In one, the News Corp titan instead said Hannity and Laura Ingraham had perhaps ‘gone too far’ in their coverage of Trump’s election fraud claims, but Carlson wasn’t mentioned.
He has never hidden his disdain for the president.
In a 2016 article for Politico, Carlson called him ‘shocking’ and ‘vulgar’. He resisted having him on his show repeatedly, instead interviewing him on occasion during Trump’s presidency.
Hard-line conservatives were quick to commiserate.
Steve Bannon, on his podcast show, said: ‘Tucker was the mainstay of the populist voice over at Fox.
‘The reason to watch Fox, you’ve got Maria (Bartiromo) in the morning, Jesse (Watters), he is getting there, but Tucker’s really the reason.
‘With this, I don’t know any reason to watch the Murdoch empire.’
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted: ‘Tucker Carlson out at Fox News. OMG.’
While conservatives mourned him, liberals like those at The View celebrated the announcement gleefully.
Whoopi Goldberg announced the news, before Ana Navarro – one of the panel’s few Republican hosts – led the audience in a chant of ‘hey, hey, hey, goodbye!’
Carlson’s departure from Fox wasn’t the only media-shaking announcement of the morning.
Shortly after his ousting was announced, CNN’s Chris Licht announced the firing of embattled host Don Lemon from the network.
Lemon was skewered for a series of sexist remarks and performances on the new CNN This Morning.