Tucker Carlson Issues First Public Comments Since Fox News Exit

Tucker Carlson Issues First Public Comments Since Fox News Exit
Fox News host Tucker Carlson speaks in Washington on March 29, 2019. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Jack Phillips

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson issued his first public comments since it was announced that he would be departing the network earlier this week, appearing outside his home in Florida with his wife.

“Retirement is going great so far,” he joked to the Daily Mail, which published photos of him and his wife outside of his Boca Grande house while driving a golf cart. “I haven’t eaten dinner with my wife on a weeknight in seven years.”

When asked about his future plans, Carlson again joked: “Appetizers plus entree.” According to the Mail reporter, he drove away in the golf cart with his wife without elaborating on what he is going to do next.

Neither Fox News nor Carlson have provided any details about why he suddenly left the network after hosting one of the top-rated cable news programs for years. A news release issued by the company said the two parted ways and said it would use a rotating slate of hosts for a temporary show during the 8 p.m. timeslot until a new host is named.

There has been speculation that a lawsuit filed by a former producer, Abby Grossberg, may have been one of the reasons for his departure. She claimed Carlson fostered a toxic work environment in which producers allegedly would make vulgar remarks, although Carlson hasn’t responded publicly to the allegations, and a Fox News spokesperson told news outlets that the company  “will continue to vigorously defend Fox against Ms. Grossberg’s unmeritorious legal claims, which are riddled with false allegations against Fox and our employees.”

Other than Grossberg’s claim, a number of anonymously sourced articles have asserted that Carlson may have been let go for a number of reasons. On Tuesday evening, a Vanity Fair report—which The Epoch Times cannot authenticate as true—alleged that Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch removed Carlson after remarks he gave at the Heritage Foundation over the past weekend.

“I have concluded it might be worth taking just 10 minutes out of your busy schedule to say a prayer for the future, and I hope you will,” Carlson said in the keynote speech. The former Fox News host also made note of what he described as widespread moral decay across society and issued warnings about the future of Western civilization.

While Fox has shed big-name hosts with little damage in the past, the ouster of Carlson comes at a precarious moment for the network, said Nicole Hemmer, a Vanderbilt University professor and author of “Partisans: The Conservative Revolutionaries Who Remade American Politics in the 1990s.” Carlson was the person there who best excelled at exciting the base of the Republican Party, she said.

“If Carlson now begins attacking Fox as ‘corporate media’ that despises its Trump-supporting viewers, he could cause the network to begin bleeding viewers” as it briefly did after the 2020 election, Hemmer told The Associated Press this week.

Carlson was named to replace O’Reilly on the day O’Reilly was fired. It may take some time for Carlson’s replacement to be known: Fox took a year, using guest hosts, before naming Jesse Watters as its 7 p.m. host last year. Watters was an immediate hit, and Fox learned that the audience likes to be part of the selection process.

“People are creatures of habit,” conservative talk show host Erick Erickson said. “Fox will offer another host who speaks into the audience’s concerns. There’ll be a dip, just like after O’Reilly, but I expect the host will be competent enough to earn the audience’s trust quickly.”

Several current and former Fox hosts reacted to Carlson’s exit this week. Both Glenn Beck and Megyn Kelly criticized the move and said it would harm Fox News in the long-term—with Beck saying that the move is tantamount to “suicide.”

“I don’t know what drove Fox News to make this decision, and it was clearly Fox News’s decision because they’re not letting him say goodbye,” Kelly said Monday. “That’s my supposition. That’s not inside knowledge … I think this is a massive error. I think this is a massive misjudgment of what their audience wants.”

Current host Sean Hannity, whose show appeared after Carlson’s, said during a radio show that he doesn’t know what caused the two parties to part ways.

“My phone has been blowing up all day. The hard part for me is I don’t have a clue … I have no idea. Was it Tucker’s decision? Was it Fox’s? Was it a mutual agreement that they had? I don’t know,” he said.

A Fox News spokesperson has not returned a request for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X: https://twitter.com/jackphillips5
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