WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Fox News on Wednesday notified Tucker Carlson's legal team that the former prime-time host violated his contract with the network when he launched his own Twitter show on Tuesday, Axios reported, citing a copy of a letter obtained by the news website.
Carlson released the first episode of his new show on Twitter on Tuesday, weeks after being taken off the air by Fox following a damaging defamation lawsuit over false claims of election fraud.
Fox News general counsel Bernard Gugar sent a letter to Carlson's legal team saying Carlson "is in breach" of his contract agreement after he posted a clip of his new show on Twitter on Tuesday evening, according to Axios.
Carlson's legal team could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters. His lawyer told Axios that any legal action by Fox would violate his First Amendment rights to free speech guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
"Fox defends its very existence on freedom of speech grounds. Now they want to take Tucker Carlson's right to speak freely away from him because he took to social media to share his thoughts on current events," Carlson's lawyer, Bryan Freedman, said in a statement cited by Axios.
Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The letter quoted by Axios refers to Carlson's contract, and said its former prime time star was "prohibited from rendering services of any type whatsoever, whether 'over the internet via streaming or similar distribution, or other digital distribution whether now known or hereafter devised.'"
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Deepa Babington and Bill Berkrot)