- Recordings resurfaced by Media Matters for America on Sunday evening showed the Fox News host Tucker Carlson comparing women to dogs, calling women “primitive,” and defending the polygamist cult leader Warren Jeffs, among other things.
- In a statement, Carlson refused to apologise, calling his statements “naughty” and inviting people who disagreed with him on to his show.
- People are comparing Carlson’s statements to ones from Milo Yiannopoulos in 2017 that stifled his career.
The Fox News host Tucker Carlson is in hot water after the progressive media watchdog Media Matters for America published recordings of call-ins from Carlson to the shock-jock radio program “Bubba the Love Sponge.” The recordings, which originally aired from 2006 to 2011, feature Carlson making numerous degrading statements about women, calling them “primitive” and comparing them to dogs, and defending the now convicted child sexual abuser Warren Jeffs.
In a statement, Carlson refused to apologise, saying: “Media Matters caught me saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago. Rather than express the usual ritual contrition, how about this: I’m on television every weeknight live for an hour. If you want to know what I think, you can watch. Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why.”
The contents of the tapes vary from Warren Jeffs to sex work
The tapes cover a wide variety of topics, with Carlson critiquing the appearance of numerous women, contesting the prosecution of Jeffs, and calling women “primitive.”
In multiple clips, Carlson appeared to draw a distinction between child marriage and child rape.
“The rapist, in this case, has made a lifelong commitment to live and take care of the person, so it is a little different. I mean, let’s be honest about it,” Carlson argued about marriage before clarifying that he’s against the practice.
In a clip dated to 2009, Carlson could be heard defending Jeffs, who was then awaiting trial on charges related to his organised polygamist cult that was accused of arranging marriages between adult men and underage girls. Jeffs was suspected of running the group from prison, but the case was dismissed because two accusers backed out of testifying. In 2011, Jeffs was convicted of two counts of child sexual assault and sentenced to life in prison.
“Here’s my point,” Carlson said in the tape. “If a guy wants to be polygamist, that’s kind of his business.”
When pressed about the age of the children involved, Carlson responded: “He’s not accused of touching anybody – he is accused of facilitating a marriage between a 16-year-old girl and a 27-year-old man. That’s the accusation. That’s what they’re calling felony rape. [crosstalk] That’s bulls—. I’m sorry. Now this guy may be [crosstalk], may be a child rapist I’m just telling you that arranging a marriage between a 16-year-old and a 27-year-old is not the same as pulling a stranger off the street and raping her.”
Carlson went on to compare underage polygamy to gay marriage, arguing: “It’s disgusting! I think the religion is ridiculous, I think it’s a cult, I think it’s totally immoral. But that’s not the point. The question is, two questions. One: Is this guy one of the top 10 most dangerous people in America? The answer is no, unequivocally no. And two: If you’re, like, for the government butting out of the bedroom and for gay marriage, and for the right of strip clubs to operate unimpeded by governments – how exactly can you be against polygamy? On what grounds are you against polygamy? I don’t get that.”
In other segments, Carlson directly attacked and critiqued the appearance of specific women.
In 2010, Carlson said Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, then a nominee, was “never going to be an attractive woman.”
“I don’t like [Kagan] and I wouldn’t vote to confirm her if I were a US senator,” he said. “But I do feel sorry for her in that way. I feel sorry for unattractive women. I mean it’s nothing they did. You know, she didn’t. Nobody deserves that.”
Carlson used language he has criticised other TV hosts for using
In 2006, Carlson called the TV host Alexis Stewart “extremely c—-.” The same year he called Arianna Huffington “a pig.”
The Fox News host previously railed against the comedian Samantha Bee for using the C-word during one of her segments on her show “Full Frontal.” In a May airing of his “Tucker Carlson Tonight” program, Carlson called the word “actually degrading” and said he didn’t know of a man who would use the same language.
Carlson has also made general statements about women, in 2006 saying, “You just need to be quiet and kind of do what you’re told,” when talking about political discussions with women.
In 2007, Carlson compared women to dogs, saying: “They’re extremely primitive, they’re basic, they’re not that hard to understand. And one of the things they hate more than anything is weakness in a man.”
Carlson addressed other topics, which can be read in full here.
There may be more recordings to come
Media Matters’ communications director, Laura Keiter, told Splinter the group had more recordings of Carlson that might soon be released.
In an email, Keiter told Splinter that the tapes were “confirmation” that Carlson’s “worldview is as reprehensible as it has long seemed.”
“This is not one random off-hand comment that Carlson said decades ago. Instead, we’re highlighting patterns,” Keiter wrote of publishing the recordings. “This is the real Tucker Carlson.”
Some are comparing the recordings to those that left Milo Yiannopoulos mired in scandal
Multiple reporters have compared the recordings to those that mired the far-right pundit Milo Yiannopoulos in scandal and ultimately paved the way to his resignation from Breitbart News and the termination of his book deal with Simon & Schuster.
— Osita Nwanevu (@OsitaNwanevu) March 10, 2019
There’s one section where Tucker Carlson is, essentially, making the heterosexual version of the intergenerational argument that ruined Milo’s career as a public intellectual, and it isn’t even CLOSE to being the most perverse of the transcripts cited in the article. https://t.co/XQokC9tmA9
— Ron Hogan (@RonHogan) March 10, 2019
In 2016, Yiannopoulos defended certain sexual relationships between children and adults, saying “there are certainly people who are capable of giving consent at a younger age, I certainly consider myself to be one of them.” In 2017, Yiannopoulos received major backlash for the comments, which eventually paved the way to numerous contract cancellations with the personality.
Others have pointed out the apparent irony of the tapes, noting that Carlson frequently employs historical critiques using past statements in his own work and has targeted individuals for being “creepy.”
Tucker Carlson literally ran a segment on *Friday night* attacking Joe Biden for something he said in 1975, but yeah go off https://t.co/cgC01vtIC6
— jordan (@JordanUhl) March 11, 2019
.@TuckerCarlson – And you have the audacity to call me “creepy”? You are a complete dirtbag. Typical hypocrite. We are about to find out if @FoxNews has any decency standards whatsoever. 13 yrs old! https://t.co/dG8XkvEV6x
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) March 11, 2019
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