She could not have been more blunt about it.
Megyn Kelly is warning Tucker Carlson that Fox News’ head of public relations is running “an orchestrated hit job” to smear him.
Kelly, a former Fox host, took to her podcast and said Fox’s PR department is working overtime to stop Carlson’s future employment and keep his 3.5 million viewers from following him to a new network.
“This is all an orchestrated hit job, in my opinion, and it’s not a subtle one,” Kelly claimed on Monday night’s “The Megyn Kelly Show.”
“It’s not enough to fire you,” Kelly said on her highly rated podcast.
“You must be destroyed, and it doesn’t matter how nice a guy you were, how many points you put on the board for the channel, that you brought us through the Trump years, that you were No. 1 in your time slot, that you haven’t said one negative word about us.”
“Fox News should stop this nonsense…I see what you guys are doing, and so does Tucker’s audience. And it’s disgusting.”@MegynKelly on the new leaked Tucker Carlson videos and who’s really behind the attempt to destroy the former Fox News host. Watch – https://t.co/0vliZl7RFq pic.twitter.com/6T2Wis22iT— The Megyn Kelly Show (@MegynKellyShow) May 3, 2023
Kelly laid the blame not at the feet of the company’s controlling shareholders, the Murdoch family, but Fox’s notorious public relations department headed by Irena Briganti, the network’s senior vice president for communication.
“You will be destroyed to settle some angry, bitter internal PR hack’s personal vendetta against you,” Kelly said. “And, if she managed to convince the bosses, the Murdochs, that he’s not good for them either, that he may have called them a name or two: So much the better.
“That’s what I think’s going on here.”
Carlson has already been hit with a barrage of leaks to tarnish his image, including a report in Fox’s sister company newspaper The Wall Street Journal claiming he was abusive and used crude language with his colleagues.
Another leak included a studio video of Carlson badmouthing Fox Nation, blasting the company for making them work “like animals” for an online product that “nobody watches” because the “site sucks.”
Kelly said she believes the leak of the video somewhat critical of their own network’s offering is clever, since it signals to future employers, including its fiercest rival Newsmax: “So, you see: He’s a hassle; he’s a difficult employee; he’s not a team player; he rips on you from the inside.”
Kelly added Fox’s smear campaign comes as its “basement, toilet numbers” have the network fearing another destination might not only get Carlson back in primetime, but get all his 3.5 million viewers with him.
Kelly was once a Fox News prime-time host, still has contacts at the network, and now shares a lawyer with Carlson, Bryan Freedman.
Reportedly Freedman is representing Carlson as the host negotiates the settlement of the remaining years on his Fox contract.
Kelly said it is getting ugly for Carlson because viewers are clearly fleeing the network, especially for Newsmax.
“It’s not going well for Fox News at 8 p.m., at all, which is the understatement of the year,” Kelly said.
Earlier in the show, Kelly suggested she knew the nexus of the anti-Carlson campaign at Fox News.
“So they first leaked to The New York Times: This is my supposition, for the record, because it hasn’t been yet confirmed, but I know it’s them,” Kelly said.
“And I know it’s Irena Briganti, who runs coms and f*****g hates Tucker. Sorry. She hates his guts. And it’s mutual. He doesn’t like her, either. None of us do. Nobody likes Irena.”
Briganti denied Kelly’s allegations in a brief email response to our request for comment.
“This is completely false and an outright lie,” Briganti wrote.
Briganti has been one of the major executives to survive Roger Ailes leadership, as numerous women came forward to allege improprieties at the network only to find themselves being attacked in the press through “leaks.”
New York magazine reported shortly after Ailes 2016 ouster that “Fox anchors and producers live in fear of crossing Briganti, who is known for leaking damaging personal stories about Fox employees to journalists.
“Several Fox women told me that one of the reasons they did not speak up about sexual harassment in the past was that they were terrified Briganti would find out and smear them in the press,” New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman wrote.