Just weeks after leaving Fox News amid the wreckage of its $787 defamation lawsuit settlement with Dominion over lies about the 2020 election, Tucker Carlson has announced his show is coming back soon in “a new version,” but this time, it’s on Twitter.
In a three-minute video haranguing the mainstream media circus he’s spent his career as a part of, Carlson insists that “the only one remaining” platform allowing free speech is Twitter, as opposed to the cable news outlets that he calls propaganda outlets.
“We 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,” says Carlson.
Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk tweeted later, claiming, “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.”
Musk continued, “Rewards means subscriptions and advertising revenue share (still working on software needed for latter), which is a function of how many people subscribe and the advertising views associated with his content.”
Elon Musk has repeatedly promoted the idea of Twitter as a platform for creators, claiming on February 3rd that “starting today, Twitter will share ad revenue with creators for ads that appear in their reply threads” and the relaunch of subscriptions for followers. Today’s tweet confirms that the split didn’t launch in February, as Musk claimed at the time while promoting it as a benefit of subscribing to Twitter Blue, and it doesn’t present a timetable for when it will be available.
According to Dylan Byers of Puck News, Carlson will forgo “at least $25 million” owed by Fox to break a non-compete clause with the new show.
Axios reports that prior to posting the video to Twitter, Carlson’s lawyers sent a letter to Fox News accusing the network of fraud and breach of contract, claiming the network broke a promise not to settle the lawsuit in a way that would indicate wrongdoing on Carlson’s part.
Their argument positions Carlson to argue that Fox News violated the contract first and claim he isn’t violating any non-compete clause with a new show elsewhere. According to Axios, Carlson’s contract runs through January 2025.
Earlier on Tuesday, Fox released quarterly financial results (PDF) reflecting a $50 million loss, due mostly to the costs of the settlement. The New York Times reports Fox executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch did not reference Carlson directly on a call with investors but said, “There’s no change to our programming strategy at Fox News.” Separately, ad exec Jeff Collins told Variety that “We have had over 40 new advertisers come into the hour” after Tucker Carlson’s show was taken off the air.
From Musk’s first meeting with Twitter employees (most of whom have been let go in the months since): “We’re not trying to put YouTube out of business, but I’m just saying, do we really need to give YouTube a whole bunch of free traffic? Maybe not. So at least give creators the option if they would like to put their video on Twitter and earn the same amount as they would, or maybe slightly more, on YouTube or TikTok or whatever the case may be.”
Update May 9th, 8:08PM ET: Added details from Elon Musk claiming Twitter has not signed a deal with Tucker Carlson and acknowledging the previously announced Twitter advertising revenue split feature is not available.