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Tucker Carlson speaks in Phoenix on Dec. 17, 2022.REBECCA NOBLE/The New York Times News Service

Text messages that helped lead Fox News to part ways with star host Tucker Carlson included one in which he declared that Trump supporters beating a protester was “not how white men fight,” according to The New York Times.

The text was one of a trove of messages from Mr. Carlson and other Fox News hosts uncovered in a defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against the network for airing false allegations that the company’s machines were used to steal the 2020 election from former President Donald Trump.

The sides settled just as the trial was getting under way, with Fox agreeing to pay Dominion nearly US$800-million.

While some of Mr. Carlson’s texts have been publicly released, the one quoted by the Times remains redacted by the court, as do numerous other exhibits. Media organizations, including the Associated Press, continue to try to lift the redactions.

The Times reports that Mr. Carlson sent the text to a producer hours after Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He describes a video he had seen a couple of weeks earlier of Trump supporters beating someone he described as “an Antifa kid.”

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Mr. Carlson wrote about his conflicting emotions in watching the fight, which he described as “three against one, at least.”

“Jumping a guy like that is dishonourable obviously,” he wrote, according to the Times. “It’s not how white men fight.”

“I should remember that somewhere somebody probably loves this kid, and would be crushed if he was killed,” Mr. Carlson wrote, after admitting part of him was rooting for the attackers. “If I don’t care about those things, if I reduce people to their politics, how am I better than he is?”

Before his ouster last month, Mr. Carlson was Fox’s top-rated host. He drew controversy for supporting theories such as the idea that immigrants are being admitted to the U.S to “replace” people born here. Critics have called that white supremacy, an accusation he has denied.

Messages sent Wednesday to Mr. Carlson and his attorney seeking comment were not immediately returned.

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