Ex-producer's lawyer calls Carlson firing an "admission" of sexist bullying and "systemic lying"

Carlson's firing was reportedly linked to a discrimination lawsuit from ex-producer Abby Grossberg

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published April 25, 2023 10:39AM (EDT)

Tucker Carlson (Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
Tucker Carlson (Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Fox News announced on Monday the shocking departure of Tucker Carlson, its top-rated opinion host.

"Fox News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways," the network said in a press release statement. "We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor." Carlson's final show was this past Friday. 

Though Carlson's leaving was undeniably abrupt, it may be a strategic legal move on behalf of the network. Sources told The Los Angeles Times that the move came from the top, with Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and other top executives — including his son Lachlan and Suzanne Scott, chief executive of Fox News Media — making the call to oust Carlson.

Carlson is facing a lawsuit from his former head of booking on "Tucker Carlson Tonight," Abby Grossberg, who alleged that the network was rife with instances of a misogynistic workplace culture.

Grossberg's complaint, filed in a New York federal court in March, claims that "Ms. Grossberg was isolated, overworked, undervalued, denied opportunities for promotion, and generally treated significantly worse than her male counterparts, even when those men were less qualified than her."

When Grossberg began her tenure at Fox's New York office last year, she found that the workspace was plastered with images of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wearing a revealing bathing suit, the suit says.

The suit also claimed that Carlson and other members of his staff routinely exchanged vulgarities about women and Jewish people.  Ahead of an appearance on the show by Republican candidate for Michigan governor, Tudor Dixon, the staffers held a mock debate to determine whether they would prefer to have sex with Dixon or Gretchen Whitmer.

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Grossberg in her suit also claimed that Fox lawyers used a "coercive and intimidating manner" to persuade her to provide misleading information in Dominion Voting Systems' defamation lawsuit against the network. She claimed that company attorneys tried to turn her and co-host Maria Bartiromo into the network's scapegoats for repeatedly and knowingly spreading misinformation about election manipulation in 2020, according to The New York Times. 

Fox has disputed Grossberg's claims.

"We will continue to vigorously defend Fox against Ms. Grossberg's unmeritorious legal claims, which are riddled with false allegations against Fox and our employees," a spokesperson said.

Tanvir Rahman, one of Grossberg's attorneys, said in a Monday statement that Fox's cutting ties with Carlson "is, in part, an admission of the systemic lying, bullying and conspiracy mongering claimed by our client."

"This is a step towards accountability for the election lies and baseless conspiracy theories spread by Fox News, something I witnessed firsthand at the network, as well as for the abuse and harassment I endured while Head of Booking and Senior Producer for Tucker Carlson Tonight," Grossberg said in a statement on Monday. "I think this is great for America! It's a big win for viewers of cable news, not just those who watch Fox."

"This is some justice for the American people and the Fox News viewers who've been manipulated and lied to for years," she added, "all in an attempt to boost the channel's ratings and revenue."

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Gabriella Ferrigine is a staff writer at Salon. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Formerly a staff writer at NowThis News, she has an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from NYU and was previously a news fellow at Salon.

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Abby Grossberg Brief Fox News Politics Rupert Murdoch Tucker Carlson