OutKick hosts Charly Arnolt and Clay Travis

Andrea Austria / Media Matters

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Hosts on Fox Corp.’s OutKick rush to defend Russell Brand and Mel Tucker from reports of sexual misconduct

OutKick’s Clay Travis and Charly Arnolt used the news to criticize the #MeToo movement and women who report sexual harassment or assault

Fox Corp.’s OutKick hosts Clay Travis and Charly Arnolt quickly began defending former Michigan State University football coach Mel Tucker and actor turned Rumble streamer Russell Brand from recent reports of past sexual misconduct. Travis repeatedly attacked a woman who reported misconduct by Tucker, and Arnolt accused women of redefining past consensual experiences to attack men.

  • Over the course of September, Mel Tucker and Russell Brand were reported to have engaged in past sexual misconduct

    • On September 10, USA Today published a story based on more than 1,200 pages of case documents shared by rape survivor and activist Brenda Tracy regarding the ongoing Title IX investigation of Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker, who reportedly made sexual comments and masturbated without consent during an April 2022 phone call. Within hours of the report’s release, Tucker was suspended without pay. [USA Today, 9/10/23]
    • On September 27, Michigan State University fired Tucker with cause. The university claimed that Tucker was fired for “his admitted and undisputed behaviors which have brought public disrespect, contempt and ridicule upon the university; and constitute a material breach of his agreement, and moral turpitude.” [ESPN, 9/27/23]
    • A joint investigation by British outlets The Sunday Times, The Times, and Channel 4 Dispatches published on September 16 reported that four women say comedian and conspiracy theorist Russell Brand sexually assaulted them between 2006 and 2013, including one woman who reported “that Brand assaulted her when he was 31 and she was 16.” [The Times, 9/16/23]
    • According to The Times' report, the extensive investigation spanned several years and consisted of hundreds of interviews. The investigation also included analysis of private emails and texts, therapists’ notes, and Brand’s own books and media appearances in order to corroborate the reporting. [The Times, 9/16/23]
  • Travis immediately attacked Tracy and defended Tucker, and Arnolt criticized hypothetical women using past consensual experiences to attack men

    • Clay Travis, the founder of Fox Corp.-owned sports site OutKick, accused Brenda Tracy of “retroactively” claiming she did not consent. In a nearly 30-minute rant, Travis mocked the report against Mel Tucker and stated: “You can’t coach football if you had phone sex with somebody one time and retroactively she says she didn't consent to it. Phone sex. I mean, this is not a crime. … Does somebody decide that you had phone sex with them inappropriately because she froze and she couldn't hang up?” [OutKick, OutKick The Show, 9/11/23
    • Travis baselessly accused Tracy of going “scorched earth” against Tucker because “she thought there might have been a future for them.” Travis claimed, “She liked him. She thought that there might be a future for them. And when he cut it off, she decided to go scorched earth. That's the only aspect of this story that actually lines up.” [OutKick, OutKick The Show, 9/12/23
    • Travis claimed without evidence that Tracy was lying about Tucker and ranted that the sexual misconduct reports against him and Russell Brand were actually about “identity politics.” He stated, “When I look at the Mel Tucker thing, the reason why he's getting fired is because no one will call out the woman here who I believe is lying. That’s what the evidence supports. And she's lying and costing Mel Tucker his job. And it's all based on identity politics. The reason why Russell Brand is getting railroaded: identity politics.” [OutKick, OutKick The Show, 9/19/23]
    • On his radio show, Travis continued to harp on the idea of Tracy’s allegations as revenge for a failed potential relationship with Tucker, accusing her of being a “jilted woman.” Travis stated, “This is clearly, to me, a jilted woman. I think she wanted to be his girlfriend.” He then added that Tucker “decided to cut it off, she then took it to Michigan State and alleged it was a Title IX violation.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, 9/19/23]
    • Travis claimed Tracy was “retroactively” claiming to have not consented to phone sex with Tucker, calling the story “a total sham.” While on a hot mic before a recording of his show, Travis ranted: “This Mel Tucker story, I mean, I can’t get over it. [A] 36-minute phone call that she now says is nonconsensual and it’s potentially going to cost him $80 million — over $2 million a minute for that phone call. I just — and the fact that you can retroactively be like, ‘Yeah, I did not consent to that phone sex call we had eight months ago.’ What? I just can't believe we’ve managed to create this expansive of an arena where [a] guy’s going to lose his job, I think it’s a total sham.” [OutKick, OutKick The Show, 9/13/23]
    • Following news of Michigan State firing Tucker, Travis called the decision “madness” before insisting Tracy’s report was an act of revenge. “This woman wanted a relationship with Mel Tucker,” Travis stated. “When he decided to call off this relationship, she lost her mind, OK? And I believe at that point in time, she was out for vengeance.” [OutKick, OutKick The Show, 9/27/23]
    • While criticizing Tracy over reporting Tucker for sexual misconduct, OutKick host Charly Arnolt complained about hypothetical women using past consensual experiences to attack men. Arnolt argued, “There's no part of this that makes me want to believe this woman. I think she knew exactly what she was doing. I just think it’s sad that women find a opportune time, or maybe they find themselves able to take advantage of the situation, and then they decide to speak up when, in reality, it's very clear it was entirely consensual.” [OutKick, OutKick The Morning, 9/20/23]
  • Travis and Arnolt defended Brand by casting conspiracy theories about media coverage and attacking women who report assault

    • Discussing “the Russell Brand story,” Clay Travis complained that sexual assault reports were being treated seriously when the events reportedly took place over a decade ago. Travis ranted, “Look, I do not know the details on the Russell Brand story. The idea that you can accuse somebody of sexual assault a decade after it happened, 15 years after it happened, and that immediately it’s presumed to be true is crazy.” [OutKick, OutKick The Show, 9/19/23]
    • Appearing on Charly Arnolt’s show, Travis whined about YouTube demonetizing Brand and insisted that “it's a fundamental failure of the judicial process that we have created, this entire idea that someone should be believed or disbelieved based on their identity.” [OutKick, OutKick The Morning, 9/20/23]
    • Arnolt said Brand could be the “latest victim” of a “coordinated media attack,” speculating that the accusations were because Brand had “appeared on Bill Maher's show and dropped facts about Big Pharma.” Arnolt said that “coordinated media attacks do exist, we’ve seen it happen before, and it looks like potentially Brand could be the latest victim.” [OutKick, OutKick The Morning, 9/18/23]
    • Arnolt attacked the sexual misconduct reports about Brand from “people that decide to come forward more than a decade later.” She said, “When do we stop listening to people that decide to come forward more than a decade later when, if there was something really bothering you, wouldn’t it be something you would've brought up back then? Or someone, at least a witness, would've been around to vouch for this story.” [OutKick, OutKick The Morning, 9/18/23]
    • Arnolt claimed that media coverage of the story was “a very targeted attack on Russell Brand.” She stated, “It's also very clear the media is launching a very targeted attack on Russell Brand because why all of sudden, after they were championing him for years and his promiscuous behavior, when suddenly they’d be like ‘you know what, this is something we should go back over a decade and find all the women he potentially wronged.’ None of it makes sense to me." [OutKick, OutKick The Morning, 9/20/23]
    • Arnolt bemoaned that YouTube demonetized Brand’s channel before insisting he is not being treated as “innocent until proven guilty.” Arnolt stated, “In his case, the concept of innocent until proven guilty is not being upheld. And now another dangerous precedent is being set, with YouTube now demonetizing Brand over crimes he has not yet been convicted of.” She asked, “When did YouTube become the moral police?” [OutKick, OutKick The Morning, 9/21/23]
    • Travis ranted about the #MeToo movement and compared the reports against Brand and Mel Tucker to the plot of To Kill a Mockingbird and treatment of Black people in “the Jim Crow South.” Travis said, “The idea that you would believe someone based on their sex — OK, she’s a woman, #BelieveAllWomen or whatever it is, #MeToo — lady justice is blind for a reason. Women lie, men lie, white people lie, Black people lie.” He later added: “Everybody lies. There is no identity that is uniquely the province of truth. What we are doing right now is engaging in the same flawed logic that used to characterize the Jim Crow South. Go back and read To Kill a Mockingbird, alright? … The entire premise of To Kill a Mockingbird rejects the idea of identity politics.” [OutKick, OutKick The Show, 9/19/23]