Fox sued by Trump supporter over Tucker Carlson’s claims he was a secret FBI mole during Jan. 6 insurrection
By Michael P. Hill Article may include affiliate links
Fox’s conservative commentary channel is facing another defamation lawsuit — this time from a Donald Trump supporter.
Ray Epps (not to be confused with the basketball player of the same name), an alleged member of the Arizona Oathkeepers, has sued the network over a conspiracy theory started by former host Tucker Carlson.
After the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Carlson made a series of statements attempting to portray Epps as an “undercover FBI agent” part of some kind of secret government plan to stoke violence that day.
Epps, who has acknowledged being present that day but says he attempted to calm alleged insurrectionists, denies the conspiracy theory Carlson started. No evidence has surfaced linking him to the FBI or other government agency and Carlson’s report offered no solid proof either.
The lawsuit claims that the claim against Epps was part of Fox’s efforts to look “for a scapegoat to blame other than Donald Trump or the Republican Party.”
Carlson’s wild story about Epps would later be picked up by other Fox hosts, including Laura Ingraham and Will Cain.
Since Carlson’s claims aired, Epps’ attorneys say he has been under threats against his life and has suffered financially. He was forced to close the wedding venue he owned with his wife and move to Utah after selling their home.
Epps’ attorneys frame Fox as being focused more on keeping viewers and making money rather than report the truth, while also appearing to attempt to shift the blame on Epps’ involvement in Jan. 6 to the network as well.
“He believed in Donald Trump and he believed the lies that Fox told,” attorney Michael Teter said.
Teter then pointed out the irony that Fox allegedly attempted to turn the tables on one of its viewers in the search for blame, stating point blank that Fox “will lie” to viewers in its quest to make money.
Defamation cases have historically been hard to win.
Fox agreed to pay $787.5 million to Dominion Voting Systems earlier this year as part of a settlement to the defamation suit the company brought against the network. The settlement came just before the trial was scheduled to start. Several key rulings by the judge in that case appeared to make it less and less likely that Fox could win the suit and the network was further embarrassed as internal memos and communications became public as part of discovery.
The Dominion case involved a separate set of claims made by Fox personalities centered around the results of the 2020 election.