Fox News Warns Tucker Carlson to Stop Making His Sad Little Vlogs

"They want to take Tucker’s right to speak freely away from him because he took to social media to share his thoughts on current events," his lawyer complained.

Fox News Warns Tucker Carlson to Stop Making His Sad Little Vlogs
Screenshot:Tucker Carlson/Twitter

Among the many inalienable rights the U.S. Constitution bestows upon us, there is arguably none more important than the right to vlog—or so says former Fox News star Tucker Carlson’s legal team, amid an escalating feud between Carlson and his former network.

On Tuesday, Carlson debuted his next step after being unceremoniously canned from Fox: a slightly blurry, wildly anti-Semitic video rant about Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy, among other topics and conspiracy theories. (The video is accompanied by a charming email guide for Boomers on how to play a video on the internet.) The following day, Axios reported that Fox News sent a legal notice to Carlson warning that his Twitter show (if you can call it that, really) breaches the non-compete clauses of his Fox contract: “Fox expressly reserves all rights and remedies which are available to it at law or equity,” the letter states.

The network notes that per Carlson’s contract, first signed in 2019 and then amended in 2021, he is “prohibited from rendering services of any type whatsoever, whether ‘over the internet via streaming or similar distribution, or other digital distribution whether now known or hereafter devised.’”

Carlson’s legal team has since accused Fox of trying to violate his free speech rights. “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,” Carlson’s lawyer, Bryan Freedman, told Axios. Carlson is also arguing that Twitter isn’t directly competitive with Fox News, so posting his selfies and video diaries won’t steal the network’s viewership.

The stand-off between Carlson and Fox is the epitome of a story with no good guy. But it is very, very entertaining to watch Carlson, a man who once earned a $20 million salary from Fox, fight and grovel this hard to make what are essentially glorified, low-budget TikToks from his home. Don’t get me wrong, as many labor advocates have pointed out, non-compete clauses are inherently anti-worker—but I find it hard to sympathize with a man who made his net worth, which is estimated to be up to $370 million, via inherited wealth and peddling bigotry and misogyny.

Carlson was terminated from Fox in April shortly after the network settled its hugely costly legal battle with Dominion Voting Systems, which sued Fox for $1.6 billion (and received $787 million) for allegedly knowingly spreading lies about Dominion’s voting machinery. Carlson’s camp has claimed he was forced out of Fox as part of the network’s settlement, which Fox disputes. In either case, since at least May, Carlson’s legal team has reportedly been arguing with Fox’s lawyers that the non-compete in his contract is void with his termination.

Look, I get that Carlson probably needs a hobby or something to fill the void, but there has to be something else. It’s not even just that his first 10-minute video rant comes off as desperate—it comes off, rather, as self-flagellation, the public gratification of a humiliation kink. Without the special effects and, as Rolling Stone’s Nikki McCann Ramirez put it, the “snappy graphics” and “high production value” of his Fox News show, Carlson is exposing himself as just another boring, insipid, racist YouTuber; he might as well remind viewers to like and subscribe at the end of his little monologues. I have to wonder if Fox is doing him a favor in trying to nip his little vlogging gig in the bud.

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