Tucker Carlson and Fox News have “parted ways,” the network announced on Monday morning.
The primetime host’s final show took place on Friday, Fox News said in a brief announcement.
Fox News provided no explanation for Carlson’s exit beyond its brief statement.
In a statement aired on Fox News on Monday, host Harris Faulkner said that Carlson and the network had “mutually agreed to part ways.”
Carlson had occupied Fox News’s 8 p.m. slot since April 2017. He used it to broadcast far-right conspiracy theories and aggressive defenses of President Trump, often taking ideas that had hitherto only existed on the fringe and breathing them into public life.
One of Carlson’s main hobbyhorses, for example, was the Great Replacement Theory – a white nationalist fantasy in which a cabal of global elites are secretly plotting to replace white Americans born in the United States with darker-skinned foreigners.
Fox News said that a rotating series of hosts would take over Carlson’s primetime slot until a permanent replacement was found.
Carlson spent the Trump years — through the administration’s various scandals, COVID-19, and the aftermath of the 2020 election — both boosting the former President’s wildest paranoid allegations of persecution, while stoking the base beneath him.
As the Biden administration rolled out the vaccines whose development was funded and heralded by the Trump administration, for example, Carlson launched a series of attacks on their safety, suggesting that his viewers were both taking a deadly risk by getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and being duped by conspiratorial bureaucrats. When asked whether he himself had gotten the COVID vaccine, Carlson replied by asking journalist Ben Smith when he last had sex with his wife and in what position.
But it was Carlson’s conduct during Trump’s attempt to reverse his loss in the 2020 election that crystallized both the man and his on-air persona.
Texts obtained and released by Dominion Voting Systems in hits lawsuit showed that Carlson understood Trump’s claims that the election was fraudulent to be nonsense, and wrote in one widely circulated message that he “loathed” Trump, and described The Donald as a wash for the conservative movement.
But on air, Carlson was one of the most flamboyantly aggressive boosters of Trump’s claims, calling the election a “scam” and a “grave betrayal of American democracy.”
On a higher level, Carlson — as debased and flauntingly hypocritical as he was — went further towards breathing a vision of right-wing ideology at odds with the old leadership of the GOP into existence than nearly anyone else.
That includes stances like that against vaccines, which both stoked and shaped the conspiratorial mindset of his base when other senior Republicans, like Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), publicly urged Americans to get the shot.
But if that example is too muddled by the GOP’s broader attempts to stifle Biden’s presidency through the COVID-19 pandemic, then look no further than Carlson’s response to Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. At a time when both parties were united in supporting Kyiv against invasion, Carlson struck it out as something more than an isolationist.
Carlson blamed the war squarely on American aggression, while accusing Kyiv robbing U.S. military aid and airing inflated estimates of Ukrainian casualties. Russian state television re-broadcast many of Carlson’s segments; Russian arms trader Viktor Bout, upon returning to Moscow after being traded for WNBA star Britney Griner, remarked that Carlson’s was the only American news program that he considered “honest.”