May 31, 2023

By Dan Whitcomb

(Reuters) – Former Fox News star Tucker Carlson made his first public appearance on Wednesday since he abruptly left the network this week, releasing a videotaped statement criticizing the state of public discourse on the American television.

Carlson did not speak directly in the videotaped statement about his departure from Fox, where he hosted the highest-rated cable news program in the major age group on the most-watched U.S. cable news network.

Instead, he targeted the American media and the American political system.

“Both political parties and their donors have agreed on what benefits them and they are actively working together to stop any conversation about it,” Carlson said.

“Suddenly the United States is very much like a one-party state. That’s a depressing realization, but it’s not permanent,” he said.

“Where do you still find Americans who tell the truth?” Carlson asked. “There aren’t many places left, but there are a few.”

Despite signing off the roughly two-minute clip with the words “goodbye,” Carlson dropped no hints about his next move.

Carlson and Fox parted ways less than a week after parent company Fox Corp settled for $787.5 million in a defamation lawsuit starring Carlson.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that a tipping point for Fox executives may have been private messages with what the paper called “deeply offensive and abusive comments” from Carlson. The Wall Street Journal reported that Carlson called a senior executive the “c-word.”

Dominion Voting Systems said in its lawsuit that Carlson allowed debunked claims of vote-rigging about the voting technology company on his show, while casting doubt on the plausibility of those claims in some of the private messages.

Carlson is also key to additional legal battles facing Fox, including a lawsuit filed by his former head of booking, Abby Grossberg, who said Fox coerced her testimony in the Dominion case.

Grossberg last month accused network lawyers of pressuring her to give misleading testimony and said Fox had exposed her and others to rampant sexism and misogyny. Fox fired Grossberg, saying her legal claims were “riddled with false allegations against Fox and our employees.”

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; editing by Heather Timmons and Gerry Doyle)