While he wouldn’t directly name the ex-colleague, Rivera dropped more than enough breadcrumbs on Thursday to make it clear who he was talking about.
After nearly 23 years at Fox News, Rivera revealed last month that he was quitting the network after he’d been fired from his co-hosting gig on The Five, the conservative cable giant’s most-watched program. This came after he initially said it was his own decision to leave the show, citing “growing tension” on the set that no longer made it enjoyable to work there.
Throughout his time on The Five, Rivera had frequent and heated clashes with co-host Greg Gutfeld, prompting Rivera to call the acerbic self-described “comedian” an “insulting punk” while threatening to kick his ass. Gutfeld, meanwhile, publicly mocked Rivera for chastising Tucker Carlson after Fox News fired the right-wing star. During his last few months on the show, Rivera’s appearances began to dry up as he openly complained that he’d “been canceled” from upcoming broadcasts.
Though he didn’t specifically cite Gutfeld as the reason he’s no longer on The Five, he strongly hinted that was the case during Thursday’s interview on The View, Rivera’s first public interview since exiting Fox.
“At first you said you left voluntarily. We all say that,” co-host Joy Behar joked to kick off the interview, adding: “You don’t want to say they fired me so you say you left voluntarily but now we know you did not, right?”
Noting that he was “fired from The Five,” which he called the “antithesis” of The View, Rivera then said he “had a toxic relationship with another of the castmembers.”
Behar immediately asked “which one,” prompting Rivera to quip ‘I may get there” and that they could “check the internet” to find out, all to audience laughter. From there, he claimed that Fox News management had decided to boot him from the show.
“So, I got a call from two of the female executives and they said, you’re off The Five but there are plenty of other things you could do,” Rivera stated. “I had a year and a half left on my contract and I said, well, stop it. If you fired me from the number one show, then I’m going to quit. And that’s basically what happened.”
After praising Fox News for the “nice” sendoff they gave him on his final day, he acknowledged that his “ideology does not fit at Fox” and that he should have left the network years earlier. Noting that he initially joined Fox as a “war correspondent” following the 9/11 terror attack, Rivera said he should have called it quits at the right-wing channel after Osama bin Laden was assassinated in 2011, adding that the “reason I went to Fox was gone.”
Asked by co-host Sara Haines about how “things got toxic” with another host and whether that was behind his ouster from The Five, Rivera affirmed that was the case while grousing about how he was treated towards the end of his run.
“Sure, and also I thought that it was very unfair that I was not judged objectively in our disputes but rather he was always favored and I was the one—I was suspended, you know, three times,” Rivera grumbled. “My appearances, I had two, three appearances scheduled weekly then biweekly then monthly then kind of disappeared. They were canceled in the last day, you know, right before I was supposed to go on, so I was really ticked off.”
Rivera would then jokingly concede that it was a “guy” he had feuded with, not Judge Jeanine Pirro, another co-host of The Five. “I love Jeanine,” he proclaimed, taking credit for helping launch her media career.
Elsewhere in his lengthy appearance, Rivera reiterated that while he had been longtime pals with Donald Trump, he feels that the ex-president “stabbed the Constitution in the back” with his election denialism that led to the January 6 insurrection. At the same time, while criticizing his former network for airing election lies that resulted in a massive settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, Rivera said he feels Fox should be given a second chance.
“I understand the bitterness that people feel toward the network for really, I think, disgraceful, purposeful ignorance of what happened,” he insisted. “They knew it happened and allowed people to promote it and it was absolutely absurd. But everybody at Fox was not engaged in that lie.”
Rivera would point out that he repeatedly called out Carlson for his “bullshit” Jan. 6 revisionism, which included the “false flag” conspiracy theory that pro-Trump protester Ray Epps was an FBI plant who provoked the Capitol riots. (Epps is now suing Fox News for defamation over Carlson’s repeated allegations.)
Pressed about his feelings towards Carlson and whether the pundit’s influence is waning since Fox News shockingly fired him in late April, Rivera said that he used to greatly admire the conservative media personality.
“I think that he is an excellent writer,” he stated. “I think that he was very charismatic in his presentation. He was number one for a reason. It was a pretty good show. Then he drifted into this murky area… these conspiracy theories, and it’s not just January 6, a whole bunch of different mucky kind of conspiracies.”
Rivera continued: “Will he still have that influence? Fox is a tremendous platform and once you lose that platform, you’re kind of screaming in the wilderness and competing with a lot of other people who have podcasts and so forth. So will he be the same character? I don’t know.”
In the end, though, Rivera said that just like he said he’d never support Trump again, he’ll “never forgive Tucker for what he did about January 6.”