'I’m happy to start threatening people': New Tucker Carlson texts show plan to punish staffers
Tucker Carlson speaking with attendees at the 2022 AmericaFest. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Tucker Carlson once devised a plan to "threaten" Fox News staffers for purportedly damaging the network's brand by criticizing former president Donald Trump, according to texts newly revealed by the Daily Beast.

Carlson is gearing up for a potential legal battle over his contract with Fox News, which separated itself from the former top host shortly after the network reached a massive settlement in the lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems over defamation in connection with coverage of the 2020 presidential election.

But before that, Carlson talked about how he was "happy to start threatening people individually" for damaging the brand by reporting on potentially negative news involving Trump, according to new texts released as part of the Dominion case and obtained by the Daily Beast.

The new texts outline an exchange between Carlson and his then-senior executive producer Justin Wells from Nov. 19, 2020, the day after Fox published a story reporting that Trump did the turkey pardon despite unrest over Covid and Trump's failure to concede the election to President Joe Biden.

“Pop that open in full. It’s our networks [sic] official Instagram feed. Literally 4-5 separate swipes at Trump for doing the Turkey pardon,” Wells wrote, according to the texts obtained by the Daily Beast. “It’s actually unbelievable. We’re trying to piss people off for no reason. We can’t fix all of Fox but there is a ‘systemic’ issue here (to use an overused phrase of 2020.)"

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Carlson reportedly responded by offering to "send a clear message."

“We’re not going to succeed if this continues,” Carlson reportedly replied. “The brand will be too damaged. We should jump on a couple of examples just to send a clear message. Let’s start with this one. Can we find out who did this?”

Carlson added: “I’m happy to start threatening people individually. It’s too much. And again, it will hurt us badly if we let it continue.”

The texts show Wells went on to say he would continue to push for changes, and added, “But I want to get you a big, fat contract. And our own network that we run on our own. They’re pissing the audience off but we can be the only thing working in the immediate future. It helps us in the ‘right now.’”