Ex-Fox News star Tucker Carlson said the network was under siege from liberals working within it and claimed that former Fox CEO Roger Ailes “would never put up with this shit,” in a previously unreported behind-the-scenes video obtained by Media Matters.
The video shows Carlson describing a conversation he had with a female Fox executive about what seems to be some sort of leak. Carlson is on the set of Tucker Carlson Tonight speaking with Justin Wells, his executive producer, in the minutes before broadcast.
“I talked to her at great length. It was actually pretty funny,” Carlson says. “I was like, she's got a lot of liberals working over there. And, you know, they see this as war and we're the main force on the other side.”
“That's crazy,” he continues. “If you've got pronouns in your Twitter bio, you shouldn't work here because we can't trust you because you're on the other side.”
Carlson goes on to say that he refused to “name names” about who “did it,” adding, “Just because you're liberal doesn't mean you did this. It does mean you shouldn't work here. And Roger would never put up with this shit.”
He later identifies one of the purported liberal elements within Fox as “Judge Jeanine [Pirro]'s guy,” who he describes as “horrible” and “a screaming left-wing lunatic.”
“He totally dicked over his anchor, and then we expect he's not going to dick over the network,” he says. “Like, I don't have specific information on it, but I would.”
(Jerry Andrews, Pirro’s executive producer, repeatedly and unsuccessfully sought to prevent her from airing false claims about fraud rigging the 2020 presidential election, according to documents uncovered in the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit.)
It’s unclear from the video exactly what triggered Carlson’s conversation with the executive. But Media Matters obtained a separate behind-the-scenes video from his show’s set which appears to show members of his team, one on-camera and one off-camera, discussing how Carlson’s show has been plagued by leaks.
In the video, the off-camera person describes how the cuts from Carlson’s interview with Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, had leaked. In October 2022, Vice Motherboard published unaired material from that interview, revealing that Carlson’s team had edited out the rapper’s antisemitic screeds — and the host’s passive response to those outbursts.
“I have no idea who did it, they’re trying to figure it out,” the off-camera speaker says. “That's the second big leak in a year, because the other one was when, during a commercial break, our mics were open in the Florida studio, and somebody reported that and leaked it to the same news outlet.”
The off-camera speaker goes on to say that Fox had taken extreme precautions to prevent the Ye interview from leaking, to no avail.
“I knew it was going to leak when we taped that interview,” he says. “I told everyone on the team in New York, ‘Get that on the hard drives immediately, get that out of Fox’s file system, off its servers immediately. If you need it to cut for the show, rename it to something that sort of they can’t find. Do that now.’ We did all that and it still leaked.”
“Nobody’s been leaked that I know of besides us,” he adds, “so whoever’s leaking is targeting us.”
Carlson repeatedly clashed on air with current and former Fox “news side” personalities like Shepard Smith and Jennifer Griffin, and documents revealed in the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against the network show him privately denouncing others including Jacqui Heinrich, Chris Wallace, and Leland Vittert. Rolling Stone reported on Sunday that he had also feuded with longtime Fox PR chief Irena Briganti -- even urging top network executives to fire her -- in part because he believed she “regularly engaged in dirty tricks against him and other hosts and contributors.”
Since Fox cut ties with Carlson last month, Media Matters has published videos showing Carlson criticizing the network’s Fox Nation streaming service, describing the lawyer who deposed him for the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against Fox as a “slimy little motherfucker,” and making several creepy on-set comments, including asking his makeup artist if “pillow fights ever break out” in the women’s bathroom.
Media Matters immediately rejected a cease-and-desist letter from Fox’s lawyers Friday demanding that we stop publishing leaked Carlson videos, with Media Matters President Angelo Carusone commenting, “Reporting on newsworthy leaked material is a cornerstone of journalism. For Fox to argue otherwise is absurd and further dispels any pretense that they’re a news operation. Perhaps if I tell them that the footage came from a combination of WikiLeaks and Hunter Biden’s laptop, it will alleviate their concerns.”