Tucker Carlson announces new show on Twitter. Elon Musk says there's no deal 'of any kind whatsoever'
It's Carlson's first attempt at a new show since he was terminated by Fox News on April 24, six days after Rupert Murdoch's network paid $787.5 million to settle a defamation suit from Dominion Voting Systems.
The network gave no reason for severing ties, but sources close to the company said Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and other executives had multiple reasons for pushing Carlson out, including some related to a discrimination lawsuit filed by former "Tucker Carlson Tonight" producer Abby Grossberg.
Carlson is reportedly getting paid for the duration of his Fox News contract, but cannot appear on another TV network during that time.
It's unclear whether Carlson's contract restricts him from digital platforms. Carlson said he will be using Twitter to present his views, although he offered no specifics on how often the program will appear.
"Soon we'll be bringing a new version of the show we've been doing for the last 6 1/2 years to Twitter," Carlson said in the nearly three-minute video. "We'll bring some other things too, which we'll tell you about. But for now we're just grateful to be here. Free speech is the main right that you have. Without it, you have no others. See you soon."
Twitter's billionaire owner Elon Musk tweeted that the social media platform has "not signed a deal of any kind whatsoever" with Carlson.
"On this platform, unlike the one-way street of broadcast, people are able to interact, critique and refute whatever is said," wrote Musk, who has positioned his version of Twitter as a space of free speech. "I also want to be clear that we have not signed a deal of any kind whatsoever. Tucker is subject to the same rules & rewards of all content creators."
"Rewards means subscriptions and advertising revenue share (coming soon), which is a function of how many people subscribe and the advertising views associated with the content," Musk added. "I hope that many others, particularly from the left, also choose to be content creators on this platform."
Carlson, whose inflammatory comments about immigration and race made him a target of critics and radioactive to brand-name advertisers, had the most-watched prime-time show on Fox News, the leading cable news network.
The audience of more than 3 million viewers he averaged nightly has been cut by more than half since a rotation of fill-in hosts have appeared in the 8 p.m. Eastern hour.
Just like his role on Fox News, Carlson is presenting himself as an alternative to legacy media, which he cited as the primary source for information on Twitter, referring to such outlets as "propaganda."
"Twitter is not a partisan site," Carlson said in the video. "Everybody's allowed here and we think that's a good thing. And yet for the most part, the news that you see analyzed on Twitter comes from media organizations that are themselves thinly disguised propaganda outlets."
Carlson is one of the most polarizing figures in American media. He was under fire throughout his Fox News run for racist and extremist comments he made on air. He once described white supremacy as a "hoax" and complained that immigrants across the Southern border make America "poorer and dirtier and more divided."
He was particularly critical of the Black Lives Matter movement after the police killing of George Floyd in 2020. He sowed doubt about the circumstances of Floyd's murder and said Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer convicted of taking his life, was subjected to a "lynching" by the media.
A leak of redacted texts and testimony gathered in evidence for the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit showed disdain for management, Donald Trump and correspondents who fact-checked Trump's falsehoods presented on the network.
Twitter's owner Elon Musk, who sat for a friendly interview with Carlson before the host was fired, made no mention of Carlson's announcement on his Twitter account.
Bryan Freedman, an attorney representing Carlson, did not respond to a request for comment.