The conservative pundit’s patience regarding his contract with the network is said to be dwindling quickly © Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla

Conservative commentator Tucker Carlson is ready to go on the attack against Fox News if the network does not release him from his contract, Axios reported on Sunday, citing sources close to the pundit.

Fox fired its number-one host last month just hours before he was scheduled to go on air, but has not released Carlson from his $20 million annual contract, which forbids him to work elsewhere in the industry until January 2025.

While Carlson has made no public statement on his departure or his future plans, aside from a two-minute Twitter video promising his viewers that he would see them “soon,” he has retained entertainment lawyer Bryan Freedman to negotiate an exit to the contract. Sources claiming to be close to the newsman say he is losing patience with the network.

Tucker Carlson forced off air by Fox contract – NYT Tucker Carlson forced off air by Fox contract – NYT

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Tucker Carlson forced off air by Fox contract – NYT

“His team is preparing for war. He wants his freedom,” a “close Carlson friend” told Axios, noting that Carlson had previously said he wanted to “get this done quiet and clean” but his team was now “going from peacetime to Defcon 1.”

The conservative icon “knows where a lot of bodies are buried, and is ready to start drawing a map,” another insider source agreed.

Carlson’s allies in the media are supposedly prepared to go on the offensive against Fox, and outlets including video platform Rumble and cable network Newsmax have reportedly offered to pay him even more than his previous employer. Even billionaire Twitter CEO Elon Musk is reportedly interested, though the two have not discussed the details of any arrangement. ddd

“The idea that anyone is going to silence Tucker and prevent him from speaking to his audience is beyond preposterous,” Freedman told Axios.

The network lost almost half of its audience in Carlson’s 8pm time slot in the week following his firing, and ratings for the network’s other shows have also declined precipitously – especially in the 25-54 age demographic desirable to advertisers. Carlson’s show drew over 3 million viewers per night, far more than the next most popular show.

The exact reason for Carlson’s ouster has not been made public. Media critics including the New York Times point to leaked text messages from the anchor, specifically one in which Carlson admitted enjoying watching footage of an antifa protester being beaten by a group despite this not being “how white men fight,” then acknowledging the protester’s humanity. Other leaked texts revealed Carlson did not believe the claim that Dominion Voting Systems was flipping votes for Democrat Joe Biden. Fox settled Dominion’s defamation lawsuit for $787 million just days before firing the anchor. (RT)