Tucker Carlson to Bubba the Love Sponge: “I like you too … I actually mean it in a completely faggot way”
Video ››› ››› MADELINE PELTZ
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Between 2006 and 2011, Fox News host Tucker Carlson spent approximately an hour a week calling in to the Bubba the Love Sponge Show, a popular shock jock radio program where he spoke with the hosts about a variety of cultural and political topics in often-vulgar terms. In addition to making many misogynistic remarks and sexual comments about underage girls, Carlson, who was hired by Fox in 2009, also repeatedly made racist remarks.
Carlson credited "white men" for "creating civilization" and made numerous racist remarks about the Obamas, including agreeing that Michelle Obama would "be a problem" because she “turns into a sister” and asking of Barack Obama, "How is he Black, for one thing? He has one white parent, one Black parent.” Carlson called Iraqis “semiliterate primitive monkeys” and said Afghanistan is "never going to be a civilized country because the people aren't civilized.” He also said he had “zero sympathy” for Iraqis because they “don’t use toilet paper or forks” and that the war could turn around “if, somehow, the Iraqis decided to behave like human beings."
During interviews on Bubba The Love Sponge, Carlson said he "love[s]" the idea of young girls sexually experimenting, used sexist terms to refer to a number of women, and defended statutory rape
Between 2006 and 2011, Tucker Carlson spent approximately an hour a week calling in to Bubba the Love Sponge, a popular shock jock radio program where he spoke with the hosts about a variety of cultural and political topics in sometimes-vulgar terms. During those conversations, Carlson diminished the actions of Warren Jeffs, then on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list for his involvement in arranging illegal marriages between adults and underage girls, talked about sex and young girls, and defended statutory rape.
Carlson, who was hired by Fox News in 2009, also used sexist language to talk about women, including then-co-workers at NBC and public figures. He referred to Martha Stewart’s daughter Alexis Stewart as “cunty,” called journalist Arianna Huffington a “pig,” and labeled Britney Spears and Paris Hilton “the biggest white whores in America.” He also said that women enjoy being told to “be quiet and kind of do what you’re told” and that they are “extremely primitive.”
TERFs use feminist vocabulary but are aligned with national anti-LGBTQ groups
Tucker Carlson recently hosted Julia Beck, a “trans-exclusionary radical feminist,” or “TERF,” in a segment promoting the illusion that there is an important divide over the importance of transgender rights within the LGBTQ community.
Beck and other TERFs claim to be feminists, but they hold vehemently anti-trans views and are widely rejected by LGBTQ advocates and organizations. In fact, TERF groups and activists have joined with right-wing, anti-LGBTQ organizations around the country in lawsuits against trans rights.
Beck appeared on the February 12 edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight to discuss her recent removal from Baltimore’s LGBTQ commission for her anti-trans views. During the segment, Beck, who is a lesbian, said, “Women have been speaking out about this for decades, but we have been effectively silenced. Many women like myself have been pushed out … simply because we acknowledge biological reality.” She also claimed that transgender identities are “opposed to biological reality,” said she doesn’t “think it’s fair to lump us all into the same acronym,” and pushed the thoroughly debunked myth that trans-inclusive policies threaten the safety of women and girls.
Beck has also appeared at the anti-LGBTQ Heritage Foundation as part of a panel of people labeled as being “from the Left” who oppose the Equality Act, a bill that would add “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” to existing nondiscrimination laws. The January event was moderated by Ryan T. Anderson, an anti-LGBTQ activist who has previously hosted other TERF activists at the Heritage Foundation to attack trans-inclusive legislation.
On the panel, Beck said, “There are only three sexualities -- homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual; all the hip new identities in the alphabet soup like nonbinary, gender-fluid, [and] pansexual are not actually sexualities. Neither is transgender.” She added that the “T” in LGBTQ is “diametrically opposed to the first three letters” and claimed that transgender identities “undermine and erase homosexuals.” She also said the definition of a woman is limited to an “adult human female,” echoing a rallying cry of the U.K.-based TERF movement.
Beck spoke on the panel alongside Kara Dansky, a leader of the TERF group Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) who has also appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight. During her 2017 interview, Dansky said, “We're called transphobic bigots because we ask questions about gender identity. We're asking questions and we're standing up for women and girls.”
Another TERF activist has recently leveraged her anti-trans beliefs into a flood of sympathetic coverage from right-wing outlets.
Meghan Murphy, who founded the pro-TERF blog Feminist Current, is suing Twitter after she was banned from the platform for intentionally misgendering and deadnaming a transgender person. Deadnaming is the act of calling a transgender person by the name given to them at birth that they no longer use and that does not align with their gender identity, and it is a violation of Twitter’s new hateful conduct policy. Right-wing media rushed to cover Murphy’s lawsuit after she posted a YouTube video about the ban, leading to favorable coverage from Quillette, The Federalist, National Review, The Daily Wire, Townhall, The Spectator, LifeSiteNews, the Washington Examiner, and The Daily Caller.
Right-wing outlets seized on Murphy’s self-identification as a “feminist” as evidence that anti-trans reactionaries do not solely come from the far-right. On his Fox show, Carlson similarly identified Beck as a feminist and claimed that WoLF leader Dansky is a “radical feminist” and “not on the right at all.” And during their appearance together on the Heritage Foundation panel, which was titled “The Inequality of the Equality Act: Concerns from the Left,” Beck expressed her surprise at participating in an event hosted by a conservative think tank.
TERFs’ embrace of supposedly feminist aesthetics and rhetoric can make it more difficult for media consumers to identify what they really stand for, and right-wing media take advantage of this confusion to push the illusion that activists “on the Left” share their anti-trans agenda. But TERFs are distinctly on the side of right-wing groups, and they have even allied with the efforts of national anti-LGBTQ groups to oppose trans rights in the judicial system.
In 2016, WoLF sued the Obama administration after it issued guidance to public schools regarding transgender students’ access to bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. In the suit, WoLF alleged that these accommodations would lead to “indecent exposure” and “voyeurism” -- a claim that has been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked. In reality, transgender people are more likely to be victims of harassment, assault, and discrimination in bathrooms than to be perpetrators of such crimes.
In G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, WoLF submitted an amicus brief filed jointly with the Family Policy Alliance, a national anti-LGBTQ group with an alliance of state groups that work to deny LGBTQ people their civil rights. The brief argued against extending Title IX protections -- which “protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance” -- to include gender identity. WoLF’s brief was submitted in support of a school district that refused to accommodate the needs of a transgender student.
WoLF also filed a brief in the Doe v. Boyertown Area School District case in support of a client of the extreme anti-LGBTQ group Alliance Defending Freedom, who sued his school district for allowing transgender boys to use the same restrooms and locker rooms as him.
Another coalition, called Hands Across the Aisle, which includes TERFs as well as conservative Christians, has also been actively supporting anti-LGBTQ groups in their legal actions against transgender civil rights. Like WoLF, the group filed an amicus brief in the Boyertown case supporting ADF’s efforts to roll back protections for transgender students.
Hands Across the Aisle also wrote a 2017 letter to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson urging him to rescind protections implemented by the Obama administration in 2016 for transgender people seeking assistance in homeless shelters. The letter was signed by dozens of leaders of various anti-LGBTQ groups such as the Family Policy Alliance, Concerned Women for America, and the Texas Eagle Forum. (A prominent member of Hands Across the Aisle, Meg Kilgannon, was recently interviewed on Fox’s The Ingraham Angle about the group’s opposition to transgender athletes.)
One prominent TERF has also connected with extremist movements overseas to support reactionary movements seemingly unrelated to her anti-trans agenda. Kellie-Jay Minshull, who goes by Posie Parker, recently traveled to Norway for a conference where she posed with far-right Hungarian politician, Holocaust denier, and Islamophobe Hans Lysglimt Johansen.
Additionally, Parker has repeatedly expressed support for far-right anti-Muslim activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson. Robinson, another former Tucker Carlson Tonight guest, has also expressed anti-trans views in a video for far-right media outlet The Rebel.
The idea that TERFs are liberal feminists -- bolstered by right-wing media -- helps create the illusion of a growing division within the LGBTQ community over transgender civil rights. In reality, mainstream LGBTQ rights organizations support and campaign for transgender civil rights, and lesbian institutions such as the Dyke March explicitly champion issues impacting transgender and gender-nonconforming people while also preserving pride events as a form of radical protest. Civil liberties advocates have also taken on the Trump administration’s anti-trans agenda and sued on behalf of transgender people for their right to access public accommodations. There is no such “divide” among mainstream feminists and LGBTQ advocates regarding the inclusion of transgender people in the queer community, as TERFs would like us to believe.
In a piece about U.S. TERFs for Bitch Media,Tina Vasquez wrote that the debate over transgender rights “is not just feminist-theory inside baseball. Though outspoken, politically active trans-exclusionary radical feminists are relatively few in number, their influence on legislation and mainstream perceptions of transgender people is powerful and real.”
Right-wing media figures like Carlson -- who has time and again demonstrated his intimate familiarity with extremist movements and a willingness to champion their causes -- are pushing a larger agenda that is anti-transgender, which includes denying trans people health care, expelling them from the military, and legally undermining their existence. And along the way, they’ll undoubtedly continue to uplift TERFs’ viewpoints under the guise of progressive feminism. But other media outlets and media consumers should be aware that nothing could be further from the truth; without transgender people leading the way, LGBTQ liberation cannot take place.
Dutch historian Rutger Bregman has released a video of an unaired interview he gave to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, in which host Tucker Carlson has a meltdown and uses profanity against Bregman after the historian mentions Carlson’s wealth as a reason why he doesn’t discuss certain topics on his show.
On February 11, Bregman tweeted that Carlson “just called me a ‘fucking moron’ during a prerecord for his show for pointing out that he’s a millionaire funded by billionaires.” He later tweeted a screenshot of a message that said “below is a message from Tucker Carlson directly” and quoted Carlson as calling Bregman “an asshole” and “far dumber, more dogmatic and less impressive than I expected.” The next day, Bregman asked Carlson on Twitter why he didn’t air the interview on his show the night before and advised him to air it and “try to resist the temptation to edit, I've recorded the full thing - including that moment when you start swearing profusely.” One of Carlson’s producers released a statement to Splinter News that said Bregman turned the segment “into an obviously calculated personal insult campaign” and that “we … respect our audience’s time too much to consider airing it.”
Bregman eventually gave the video to NowThisNews, and the outlet released it on February 20. According to Bregman, he “chose to release it, because I think we should keep talking about the corrupting influence of money in politics. It also shows how angry elites can get if you do that.”
The unaired segment shows that Carlson’s recent attempts to distinguish himself as a supposed critic of capitalism are nothing more than empty platitudes. After Bregman proposed higher taxes on the wealthy as a means to mitigate the harms of inequality, the Fox host pivoted to avoid endorsing or rebutting the idea. But when Bregman said to him, “You are a millionaire funded by billionaires and that’s the reason you’re not talking about these issues” Carlson went off the rails and began cursing: “Why don’t you go fuck yourself, you tiny brain -- and I hope this gets picked up because you’re a moron. I tried to give you a hearing but you were too fucking annoying.”
When Tucker Carlson criticizes “elites” like corporations, he ultimately brings it back around to ethno-nationalism and demonizes immigrants. Bregman has done a tremendous service: By showing that the real problem is the wealth gap, he exposed Carlson’s position as a fraud. Carlson’s ongoing campaign to mainstream white nationalism is fundamentally incompatible with the project of reducing inequality.
The only shame is that Carlson’s audience will never hear about it.
After a state legislator in Virginia proposed a bill to remove barriers to abortion access, right-wing media went on the attack. Fox News and other outlets have blatantly lied about the bill (which has since been tabled), calling it legalized “infanticide” and levying other false and misleading accusations, all as part of a campaign to delegitimize attempts to protect or expand abortion access. Fox host Tucker Carlson, himself a booster of anti-choice extremists, argued that “the investor class” pushes abortion on regular people because its members want women to “stop breeding” and join the workforce, adding that “pro-choice means pro-corporate.”
TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): In other words, abortion boosts markets. It frees women from the tiresome demands of motherhood and allows them to fulfill their higher duty, which is to corporations. Childless women make more dutiful, obedient workers. They can work longer hours. They take less time off. They are loyal to company first. This is all great for GDP. Chelsea Clinton and the rest of the investor class strongly approve of it. Stop breeding and get to work. That’s how they feel.
So this is the real reason our elites so enthusiastically support abortion. It doesn’t set you free; it won’t make you happier. But it will make companies more profitable and that’s what matters most to them. Pro-choice means pro-corporate. Whatever else he’s done, [Virginia Gov.] Ralph Northam has made that clear.
His argument that liberal elites want women to have access to abortion so they can enter the workforce is false, sexist, and paternalistic -- and it overlaps with the rhetoric of racist extremists in the “alt-right” world online. Carlson’s misogynistic view that women should not have control over their own bodies also tracks with his efforts to mainstream white supremacist talking points, as there are clear connections between racism, anti-choice activism, and virulent misogyny. There’s significant overlap between Carlson’s rhetoric and the views expressed by white nationalist online media personalities, who, in turn, love Carlson for his on-air racism.
After President Donald Trump lied about abortion and made a hollow appeal to women in the workforce in his State of the Union speech, Richard Spencer, a white nationalist credited with coining the phrase “alt-right,” lamented that increased employment meant fewer children will “be born and cared for.”
Faith Goldy, an “alt-right” online personality who in 2018 ran a failed mayoral campaign in Toronto and earned Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) endorsement, quoted Trump’s comments on working women, then added, “Meantime, US birth rate has hit an all-time low” quipping sarcastically that it’s probably “unrelated.”
White nationalist YouTube personality and men’s rights activist Stefan Molyneux claimed it’s “very sad” that more are women working -- which Carlson said is the result of abortion access -- because it leaves them “little time for play and connection” with children at home.
Carlson also said that abortion proponents want women to “stop breeding,” which dovetails with a dog whistle meant to stoke fear of demographic change in America. Molyneux echoed this sentiment on Twitter earlier this month, saying that immigrants and their children are dependant on welfare funded by white people and this is driving down white birthrates.
Since the early days of his tenure as a Fox prime-time host, Tucker Carlson’s unabashed championing of white grievances earned him the accolades of neo-Nazis, who praised him as a “one man gas chamber” and complimented the way he “lampshad[ed] Jews on national television.” While Carlson claims to have nothing in common with neo-Nazis and white supremacists, he constantly echoes their talking points on his show and was very reluctant to condemn white supremacists following their deadly 2017 demonstration in Charlottesville, VA. In fact, Carlson’s racist roots can be traced back more than a decade.
Here’s a timeline of the public devolution of Tucker Carlson’s thinly veiled racism into full-throated white supremacy (this list will be continually updated):
When his guest brought up King, Carlson changed the subject
Tucker Carlson’s only coverage of Republican Iowa Congressman Steve King’s racist comments to The New York Times, published on January 10, that he didn’t know when terms like “white nationalist [and] white supremacist” became offensive has consisted of one segment of Carlson reprimanding MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace for saying that racists attach to the Republican Party. After critiquing Wallace, Carlson made his case that white people are the real victims of racism, citing evidence such as an affirmative action lawsuit bankrolled by big money conservatives and a Buzzfeed listicle from 2017. Carlson has not mentioned King by name since the Times story broke, and he interrupted his guest Victor Davis Hanson when Hanson brought up King's name.
King’s white supremacist beliefs have been widely known prior to his interview with the Times. Despite this, Tucker has had Steve King on his program several times, including when King was criticized for a racist tweet which said that “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” On the show that night, Carlson defended him, saying, “Everything you said I think is defensible and probably right.”
Carlson has a long history promoting white nationalism. He has used his Fox show to promote racist dog whistles and elevate fringe issues that are important to the “alt-right”. His nightly show has a robust fan base of racists and neo-Nazis, who regularly sing his praises online. Carlson's on-air racism has contributed to a massive advertiser exodus.
Tucker Carlson has resorted to lying about his own words after drawing backlash for a sexist rant in which he said women earning more money leads to “more drug and alcohol abuse, [and] higher incarceration rates.”
As more advertisers decide to distance themselves from Carlson’s often extreme rhetoric, the Fox host has resorted to lying about his comments. In response to the controversy, and on the same day Red Lobster announced it would no longer associate its brand with his show, Carlson has attempted to defuse the situation by lying about what he originally said.
On January 2, Carlson said, “In many areas, women suddenly made more than men. Now, before you applaud that as a victory for feminism, consider some of the effects,” which he claimed included higher incarceration rates and drug and alcohol abuse. The next day, after his comments were widely condemned, Carlson made the dishonest assertion that his rant was about falling male wages, making no mention of rising wages for women.
On Monday, January 7, Carlson once again claimed that his critics were outraged that he said wages for men were falling, falsely stating that he was being criticized after he “dared to talk about the role of falling male wages.” But his false assertion does not change his original claim that increased earnings for women are a societal ill.