UPDATED: Carlson claimed that after incident in a public bathroom, he assaulted the man who "bothered" him
Research ››› ››› RYAN CHIACHIERE
On the August 28 edition of MSNBC Live, hosted by MSNBC general manager Dan Abrams, Tucker Carlson, host of MSNBC's Tucker, asserted, "Having sex in a public men's room is outrageous. It's also really common. I've been bothered in men's rooms." Carlson continued, "I've been bothered in Georgetown Park," in Washington, D.C., "when I was in high school." When Abrams asked how Carlson responded to being "bothered," Carlson asserted, "I went back with someone I knew and grabbed the guy by the -- you know, and grabbed him, and ... hit him against the stall with his head, actually."
From the August 28 edition of MSNBC Live at 9 p.m. ET:
ABRAMS: But Tucker, your position has long been on these kinds of stories that their personal lives are not our business. Does this case qualify for that, in your mind, as well?
CARLSON: Let me be clear, Dan. I am not gay. I have never been gay. I overreacted and made a poor decision.
SCARBOROUGH: And you love your -- you love your wife, Tucker. Let me just say for the record, I am not gay, either.
CARLSON: Let me -- let me put it this way. Whether he's gay or not actually is not our business, and I do think it's indefensible that the newspaper in Idaho spent a year interviewing 300 people to answer the question, Is he gay? That's none of your business. Having sex in a public men's room is outrageous. It's also really common. I've been bothered in men's rooms. I think people who do -
CARLSON: Yeah, I have. You know what, Let me just say.
SCARBOROUGH: Wait, hold on a second. Dan, hold on a second. I don't mean to take over, but have you been bothered in public restrooms, Dan? Because I know I haven't.
CARLSON: I have. I've been bothered in Georgetown Park. When I was in high school.
CARLSON: And let me just say, I think --
SCARBOROUGH: That's something.
CARLSON: -- people should knock that off. I'm not anti-gay in the slightest, but that's really common, and the gay rights groups ought to disavow that kind of crap because, you know, that actually does bother people who didn't ask for being bothered. So yeah, I think it's outrageous that he did that. And also, this specter of him getting up there and blaming other people is so Clintonian. You know, if he just said, "I'm not going to talk about it," that'd be one thing.
ABRAMS: And -- and this notion --
CARLSON: But he's clearly crazy.
ABRAMS: Well, and this notion that he pled guilty, and yet he's saying, "Oh, you know what? I never should have done that."
SCARBOROUGH: Well, it's the newspaper's fault.
CARLSON: Well it's ridiculous. It's ridiculous.
ABRAMS: Well it's the newspaper -- it's everyone's fault except his own. I mean, I've never heard of -- I mean, you're a U.S. senator, and you're thinking you're going to make it go away --
SCARBOROUGH: But hold on a second, though, Dan --
ABRAMS: -- by pleading guilty after you're busted in a public bathroom?
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second. You have Bill Clinton, who actually went out and did the same exact thing. He showed defiance. He said, "I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky." And he continued that line not only for months in the press, but then he went before a grand jury and said the same thing. And it -- you know what? Here's the thing. It worked for Bill Clinton. His wife went on TV and she blamed, remember, the vast right-wing conspiracy that's been trying to take down her husband.
I don't dredge this up to knock the Clintons. That is history, and it's a -- ugh -- it is a nasty part of our history, and I'm glad it's behind us. I just bring it up to say, you know what? Deny, deny, deny seems to work.
CARLSON: But it's also -- but it's evidence, in Larry Craig's case -- I mean, you know, you just watch the press conference, and you see a man who's not in possession of himself. I mean, there's something -- you know, I'm not a shrink, but there's clearly something wrong with Larry Craig. He appeared to believe it. This is a guy who's been accused repeatedly over the years of soliciting sex from men in bathrooms. So the chances that he's arrested for the same thing accidentally --
ABRAMS: Right, right, right.
CARLSON: What, he's the unluckiest man and he's Job?
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, Tucker?
CARLSON: You know what I mean? It's insane!
SCARBOROUGH: Was he the guy in Georgetown, Tucker?
CARLSON: No, actually. I got that -- my point is -- let me just say --
ABRAMS: Tucker, what did you do, by the way? What did you do when he did that? We got to know.
CARLSON: I went back with someone I knew and grabbed the guy by the -- you know, and grabbed him, and -- and --
ABRAMS: And did what?
CARLSON: Hit him against the stall with his head, actually!
CARLSON: And then the cops came and arrested him. But let me say that I'm the least anti-gay right-winger you'll ever meet --
CARLSON: -- but I do think doing this in men's rooms appears to be common. It's totally wrong, and they should knock it off. I mean that. I think it's -- I can't bring my son to the men's room at the park where he plays soccer because of all these creepy guys hanging around in there. I actually think it's a problem. I'm sorry.
UPDATE: Media Matters received the following statement from Tucker Carlson by email from an MSNBC spokeswoman:
Let me be clear about an incident I referred to on MSNBC last night: In the mid-1980s, while I was a high school student, a man physically grabbed me in a men's room in Washington, DC. I yelled, pulled away from him and ran out of the room. Twenty-five minutes later, a friend of mine and I returned to the men's room. The man was still there, presumably waiting to do to someone else what he had done to me. My friend and I seized the man and held him until a security guard arrived.
Several bloggers have characterized this is a sort of gay bashing. That's absurd, and an insult to anybody who has fought back against an unsolicited sexual attack. I wasn't angry with the man because he was gay. I was angry because he assaulted me.