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Fox News host Tucker Carlson and CNN anchor Don Lemon, both of whom were fired on Monday, are hiring the same high-profile lawyer to handle their departures.
“Neither host has announced a lawsuit or dispute against their employers. But the litigator they’ve retained — Bryan Freedman — has a record of helping TV hosts secure millions from their old networks. Former CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter reported that both Carlson and Lemon are retaining Freedman’s services, while The New York Times also wrote that Lemon had hired Freedman,” Business Insider reported.
“Messy media breakups are a staple for Freedman, famed for aggressively representing a laundry list of the entertainment world’s most prominent figures. His clients include Vin Diesel, Quentin Tarantino, and Mariah Carey. Freedman previously worked to help former host Megyn Kelly secure around $30 million from NBC News after she parted ways with the network in 2019. Kelly was fired halfway through her three-year contract worth $69 million, but NBC agreed to pay her the remainder of her original salary,” the outlet added.
“In 2021, Freedman also represented longtime “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison, who reached a $10 million exit settlement with ABC after facing backlash over his comments on the show, per Variety,” Insider continued. “Chris Cuomo, the anchor fired by CNN in December 2021, also hired Freedman in his ongoing wrongful termination suit against the network for $125 million.”
Who Is Bryan Freedman? Don Lemon And Tucker Carlson Hire Same Lawyer After Ousters. via @forbes https://t.co/8UNYq4hDPt
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) April 25, 2023
Fox News announced on Monday that the network had “parted ways” with Carlson and it ignited a firestorm on social media.
Soon after news of Carlson’s firing, reports shed light on who made the final decision to cut ties with the top host.
A new report reveals that Lachlan Murdoch, the chief executive of Fox Corporation, and Suzanne Scott, chief executive of Fox News Media, decided on Friday night to fire Carlson. Then, Scott informed Carlson on Monday morning of the decision.
“The power that Mr. Carlson, 53, wielded outside Fox News could not insulate him from a growing list of troubles inside the network related to his conduct on and off the air, some of which had been grating on Mr. Murdoch and his father, Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of Fox Corporation, who co-founded the network in 1996, according to the two people with knowledge of the company’s decision,” the New York Times reported.
“The host, a polarizing and unpopular figure at the network outside of his own staff, was exposed as part of a defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems as a bully who denigrated colleagues and sources, often in profane and sexist language and called for the firing of Fox journalists whose coverage he disliked. He has also drawn condemnation from the right and left for his role in fostering a revisionist account of the assault on the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021,” the outlet added.
The NYT report then suggests Carlson’s segment detailing the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was a “point of contention.”
Don Lemon was fired from CNN on Monday and immediately released a statement on Twitter.
“I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN. I am stunned. After 17 years at CNN, I would have thought someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly. At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to continue to do the work I have loved at the network. It is clear that there are some larger issues at play,” Lemon said.
But CNN public relations disputed the former host’s description of events.
“Don Lemon’s statement about this morning’s events is inaccurate. He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter,” it said.