American media have been thrown for a loop by Monday’s firings of Fox News and CNN anchors Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon.
Less than a week after parent company Fox Corp settled a defamation lawsuit starring Carlson for $787.5 million, Fox News Media and its top-rated host Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways.
Carlson’s prime-time show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” was the highest-rated cable news programme among adults 25 to 54 on the most-watched U.S. cable news network because of Carlson’s unabashed support for conservative causes and his engaging presentation of those beliefs. Fox stock dropped 2.9% on the news, which was released by the company on Monday.
In a lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems, the company claimed that Carlson had publicly supported false allegations of election fraud against the company despite privately questioning the veracity of those allegations.
Carlson is also pivotal in Fox’s other legal battles, such as the one filed by his former head of booking Abby Grossberg, who claims Fox coerced her into testifying against him in the Dominion case.
Last month, Grossberg claimed that Fox had an atmosphere of pervasive sexism and misogyny, and she blamed network lawyers for pressuring her to give misleading testimony. Fox dismissed Grossberg, citing “false allegations against Fox and our employees” in her lawsuit as the reason for the dismissal.
The next steps for Carlson and the reason for his departure are unknown.
CNN, on the same day, fired longtime host Don Lemon, the news anchor announced on Twitter on Monday, adding that he was “stunned” by the move and that he was not informed of the termination directly by the network.
“I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN. I am stunned,” Lemon said.
“After 17 years at CNN, I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly. At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to continue to do the work I have loved at the network,” he added.
CNN released its own statement confirming the news that Lemon had been fired from the network. An opportunity to meet with the network’s management was extended to Lemon, but he chose to issue a statement on his personal Twitter account instead. Lemon’s account was deemed “inaccurate” by the network.
However, neither explanation explained why Lemon left.
In 2006, Lemon began his tenure at CNN. Over the course of Trump’s presidency, he became well-known for his commentary on the then-Republican president, whom he labelled a “racist,” and for hosting the late-night talk show “Don Lemon Tonight” for more than eight years.