Fox sent a cease-and-desist letter on Friday to Media Matters, the progressive watchdog, and its president, demanding that it take down embarrassing behind-the-scenes videos of Tucker Carlson attacking Fox News’ streaming service and making crude remarks while joking with staff.
The footage, published over the last week in a series of clips, comes in the wake of Carlson’s abrupt firing at the right-wing network and as a steady drip of leaked text messages show the former primetime star making racist and denigrating comments.
The sternly worded letter from Fox Corporation lawyers said the “unaired footage” is its “confidential intellectual property” and demanded Media Matters “cease and desist from distribution, publication, and misuse of Fox’s misappropriated proprietary footage, which you are now on notice was unlawfully obtained.”
“Reporting on newsworthy leaked material is a cornerstone of journalism,” Media Matters President Angelo Carusone said in response to Fox’s demand Friday. “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.”
Carlson has not responded to CNN requests for comment about the footage.
The watchdog group published a video clip on Wednesday showing Carlson speaking to colleagues on set between broadcasts candidly discussing the deposition he gave in Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation case against Fox. Carlson referred to a Dominion lawyer as a “slimy little motherf**ker” and confessed to his producer “the hate” that he felt for him.
“I don’t want to feel that way. I think it’s wrong. It’s bad. It’s totally bad for you to feel that way,” Carlson said. “But that guy, he triggered the sh*t out of me.”
The footage also showed Carlson trashing the right-wing network’s streaming service Fox Nation, expressing frustration that the platform “sucks” and complaining that its “unbelievable” shortcomings were a “betrayal” of his efforts.
In other clips, Carlson is seen talking about sex ahead of an on-camera interview with Fox Nation host Piers Morgan, saying, “If we’re going to talk about sex, I’d love to hit some of the fine points of technique.”
Others show him asking a makeup artist if “pillow fights ever break out” in the women’s bathroom, discussing his “postmenopausal fans” and describing a woman as “yummy.”