December 8, 2023

In this clip from Chris Cuomo’s show last night, Bill O’Reilly says he did some actual reporting to find out exactly what happened with the firing of Tucker Carlson. According to O’Reilly, the decision was made Sunday night and the show’s staff found out about it Monday morning as they were working to prepare Monday night’s show. In short, this was not something that had been under discussion for very long.

O’Reilly claims that while the Dominion lawsuit did not lead to this directly, it did put Fox News into a mode where it was thinking ahead about other lawsuits that were coming. One of those is a forthcoming lawsuit by Smartmatic, another election-connected company who are looking for even more money than Dominion.

Dominion Election System’s historic settlement with Fox News “set down a marker and it’s a marker that we think we should be exceeding,” Smartmatic lawyer Erik Connolly told CNN Thursday. Connolly called Dominion’s agreement “a good start” but “not the right finishing point.” Smartmatic sued Fox News in 2021 for $2.7 billion—more than $1 billion more than what Dominion claimed in damages.

Smartmatic already sees Dominion’s settlement with Fox News, which was brokered in the final hours before the start of trial, as an advantage in their case. Fox agreed to pay Dominion what is believed to be the largest dollar amount in a defamation case settlement, and acknowledged in a statement that it spread 2020 election lies on air. Smartmatic is making similar claims against Fox.

So that’s the next big case coming and there’s no reason to think it won’t be another historic loss for Fox News. But then O’Reilly mentioned two more lawsuits which involve Tucker Carlson more directly.

“You have two individual lawsuits, actually one filed and one that may be filed and that was the key,” O’Reilly said. He continued, “So, one of Tucker Carlson’s producers apparently taped a whole bunch of stuff. Her lawyer went in to the Fox attorneys and said unless you pay so and so some money, we’re going to sue you. And Fox said we’re not paying so they filed suit in New York City. And they have the tapes and those tapes may be released to the public.”

O’Reilly wasn’t specific about who filed that lawsuit but it’s almost certainly the one that David mentioned yesterday involving former producer Abby Grossberg. Briefly, the LA Times reported that Grossman claims she “was bullied and subjected to antisemitic comments.” She and another Carlson producer were fired and her firing was for “disclosing privileged company information.”

Putting that together with what O’Reilly is saying, it sounds like she has some tapes of Carlson and/or his staff making comments they wouldn’t want aired on television, including antisemitic comments. When Fox found out she’d taken that material they fired her rather than paying her. And as O’Reilly says, that means these tapes will probably get leaked and reported on in connection with her lawsuit sometime soon.

It reminds me of this infamous leaked tape of MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell having a complete meltdown over some construction taking place during his taping. The audience was never supposed to see that meltdown but someone put together the off-air moments and leaked it. In that case, O’Donnell and the network were embarrassed but it wasn’t enough to get him fired. Presumably the tapes Grossberg has are worse.

The other possible lawsuit cited by O’Reilly (and also cited by the LA Times) was from Ray Epps. In a recent interview Epps claimed that Tucker Carlson ruined his life by accusing him of being an undercover FBI agent provocateur. O’Reilly sees that as another “massive lawsuit” waiting to happen but this one aimed directly at Carlson.

So given those three lawsuits (two filed and one probably coming soon) the Board of Directors is now expecting lawsuits from shareholders who are angry about all the money Fox is paying out because of what some of the hosts are saying on air. “Faced with that, the Board of Directors said ‘we gotta start cleaning this up.’ So Dan Bongino was the first domino to fall…and then Carlson because of the impending litigation was harpooned this morning,” O’Reilly said.

Bottom line, O’Reilly is adding a bit more detail to the outlines of what the LA Times was reporting yesterday.

The clip ends with O’Reilly predicting Fox will need to cut salaries and reduce staff size to make up for the huge amount of money they are going to be paying out for these lawsuits. In other words, there will be a lot more firings to come. “This is bad for Fox News. There’s nothing good about this,” O’Reilly concluded. Here’s his full appearance on Cuomo’s show.