Tucker Carlson's snide dismissal of paternity leave is in stark contrast to his colleagues' fervent support


Citation Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

Fox News host Tucker Carlson dismissed the importance of paternity leave while taking an anti-gay swing at Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on Thursday. But in corporate materials his employer touts its parental leave policy, which his male Fox colleagues have praised for allowing them to take time off to care for their spouses and infants.

“We believe offering our employees the tools necessary for a healthy work-life balance empowers them to thrive in our modern workforce,” Fox parent company Fox Corporation’s 2021 report to shareholders states. “Our parental leave policy allows eligible new parents to bond with their children for a substantial period with full pay.” Similar language appears in the Fox Corporation 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility report

Fox’s policy reportedly includes six weeks of paternity leave, which Carlson’s colleagues apparently appreciate. 

Fox & Friends First co-host Todd Piro also took six weeks of paternity leave this year following the birth of his daughter. “They give us six weeks as dads for paternity and I'm taking that six weeks,” Piro told his viewers in March. “I can't wait to bond with my little one.”

When Piro returned from leave, he wrote an essay about the experience for the opinion section of Fox’s website touting how Fox’s policy had allowed him to bond with his child. 

“I cannot thank Fox enough for providing all fathers who work here with such a generous paternity leave,” he wrote. “This experience has changed me in a profound way and in ways I won’t fully comprehend until my daughter is older. But for now – that smile coming from the crib each morning, immediately followed by morning snuggles – is what I will cherish the most. There is nothing better.”

Fox host Jesse Watters also raved about the policy during an April appearance on The Five after returning from a hiatus following the birth of his third child. “Now I am pro-paternity,” he said. “I used to mock people for taking paternity, I used to think it was a big ruse.”

Carlson, who has four children, apparently still thinks it is. 

“Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child. Paternity leave, they call it, trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went,” he snarled on his prime-time show, mocking both fathers who take paternity leave and gay fathers. Carlson has a long history of bigoted and homophobic commentary, including using anti-gay slurs

Buttigieg announced on September 4 that he and his husband Chasten were welcoming newborn twins. On Thursday, Politico reported that Buttigieg’s office said he had been on paid leave beginning in mid-August. “For the first four weeks, he was mostly offline except for major agency decisions and matters that could not be delegated,” a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation said. “He has been ramping up activities since then.” 

Politico noted that Buttigieg has engaged in a flurry of public activities since October 7, a date that falls roughly six weeks after mid-August. 

If Carlson were to peruse Fox’s corporate materials, he could learn about much more than his network’s paternity leave policy. 

The face of Fox News drew praise from white nationalists and a flood of criticism from everyone else following a September 2018 rant against America’s diversity.

“How precisely is diversity our strength? Since you've made this our new national motto, please be specific as you explain it,” he said. “Can you think, for example, of other institutions such as, I don't know, marriage or military units, in which the less people have in common the more cohesive they are? Do you get along better with your neighbors or your co-workers if you can't understand each other or share no common values?” 

“Please be honest as you answer this question,” Carlson concluded.

Here’s the answer, according to Carlson’s bosses, via the 2020 corporate social responsibility report:

We believe that the more voices in the room and the more diverse the experiences of our colleagues, the better FOX’s internal culture and external programming are. Our diversity enables us to be more reflective of the audiences we reach and enhances our ability to create news, sports, and entertainment programming that serves all viewers across the country. A diverse and inclusive workplace is not merely a strategy or business objective; it is fundamentally woven in the fabric of the company. This commitment begins with our approach to talent recruitment and extends to the way we nurture the careers of, and provide opportunities to, our colleagues.