Fox News Sued Over Tucker Carlson's "Extortion" Analogy

Karen McDougal, who was paid to keep quiet about an affair with Donald Trump, files suit.
Michael S. Schwartz/Getty Images
Tucker Carlson

Karen McDougal is suing Fox News for slander after Tucker Carlson invoked her situation in an effort to play down President Donald Trump's Ukraine troubles.

McDougal is the former Playboy model who infamously received money from the National Enquirer to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Trump. She got out of the hush deal in a settlement with the parent company of the National Enquirer, which later admitted to illegal campaign contributions.

On the Dec. 10 edition of Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight, the primetime host presented what had occurred differently.

"Remember the facts of the story, these are undisputed," stated Carlson before referencing Trump's alleged affairs with McDougal and Stormy Daniels. "Two women approached Donald Trump and threatened to ruin his career and humiliate his family if he doesn't give them money. Now that sounds like a classic case of extortion."

In McDougal's complaint, filed Thursday in New York state court, the plaintiff attacks Carlson's suggestion that she approached Trump with threats: "This statement is completely untrue and was made knowing it was untrue and with reckless disregard for the truth."

Carlson seemingly was attempting to undercut the seriousness of allegations that Trump had committed extortion in Ukraine. At the moment, the president appears headed toward impeachment after allegedly demanding that Ukraine announce an investigation into his political opponent (Joe Biden and his son) in return for military aid.

On the Dec. 10 show, Carlson analogized the "extortion" over the Trump affairs to what lawmakers are fussing about today.

After opining that the demands from the women "sound[ed] like a classic case of extortion," for which Trump had "cave[d]," Carlson added, "Now, more than two years later, Trump is a felon for doing this. It doesn't seem to make any sense. Oh, but you're not a federal prosecutor on a political mission. If you were a federal prosecutor on a political mission, you would construe those extortion payments as campaign contributions."

Carlson's troubled line of dull thinking has now led to a demand for general and punitive damages.

Here's the full complaint.

A spokesperson for the network responded, "Fox News will vigorously defend Tucker Carlson against these meritless claims.”