Tucker Carlson’s Text That Alarmed Fox: ‘It’s Not How White Men Fight’

The text message added to a growing number of internal issues involving Mr. Carlson that led the company’s leadership to conclude he was more of a problem than an asset and had to go, according to several people with knowledge of the decision. In other messages he had referred to women — including a senior Fox executive — in crude and misogynistic terms. The message about the fight also played a role in the company’s decision to settle with Dominion for $787.5 million, the highest known payout in a defamation case.

A representative for Mr. Carlson said he had no comment.

The text is part of redacted court filings and its contents were previously unreported. The contents of the text were disclosed in interviews with several people close to the defamation lawsuit against Fox. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a message that is protected by a court order. In public filings, it remains hidden behind a block of black text.

Mr. Carlson’s messages were collected as part of the defamation lawsuit filed against Fox by Dominion, which accused the network of knowingly airing falsehoods about election fraud. Many of the messages shared in the case, including those among Fox executives and hosts, were released publicly. But others, like the one between Mr. Carlson and one of his producers in the hours after Jan. 6, 2021, remain redacted.

In that text, Mr. Carlson described his own emotions as he watched the video of the violent clash, which he said took place on the streets of Washington. Mr. Carlson did not describe the race of the man being attacked.

“I found myself rooting for the mob against the man, hoping they’d hit him harder, kill him. I really wanted them to hurt the kid. I could taste it,” he wrote. “Then somewhere deep in my brain, an alarm went off: this isn’t good for me. I’m becoming something I don’t want to be.”

After all, he wrote, “Somebody probably loves this kid, and would be crushed if he was killed.”

“If I don’t care about those things, if I reduce people to their politics, how am I better than he is?” he wrote.

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