Unearthed audio shows Tucker Carlson using white nationalist rhetoric and making racist remarks
Research ››› ››› MADELINE PELTZ
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."
Carlson: Immigrants should be "hot" or "really smart" because people picking lettuce aren't going to build a stronger country.
TUCKER CARLSON: You got me going. Well, you’re talking about God and illegals and -- you got a pretty heavy show. I thought we were just going to be talking about blow jobs.
BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE: Jesus, Tuck.
CO-HOST: By the way, Tucker, Dan's immigration plan is marry an illegal, and that’s -- that was what he did. So -- so, every American, go do it.
CO-HOST: Hey, easy there, Steve.
THE LOVE SPONGE: Dr. Diaco, man. Let me tell you something about Dr. Diaco. Thirty-nine-years-old, soon to be 40 in a couple weeks, fucking stud, you know, works on hot chicks' boobs all day, and then he finds this 19-year-old -- he's -- he’s 40, by the way, and he finds this 19-year-old chick, fresh off the boat, who is about the fucking hottest thing I've ever seen in my entire life. Just recently got married. So yes, that's probably the best immigration program I've ever heard in my entire life.
CO-HOST: They know the role. She's loving being an American now.
THE LOVE SPONGE: God, she --
CARLSON: Yeah, there's some really good, I mean, immigrants. I just think it's, you know, people who come to this country ought to have something to offer. Be hot, be really smart, you know what I mean?
THE LOVE SPONGE: Yeah, I --
CO-HOST: Exactly. Desirable.
THE LOVE SPONGE: Exactly, hot or smart, and that's about it.
CARLSON: Hot or smart, that's right. But people to come over and pick lettuce, I mean, I'm not saying that's an undignified -- I mean, that's great, you know, and I admire people who work hard, but on the other hand, is that -- are those people who are going to build, you know, a stronger country 20 years from now? [Bubba the Love Sponge Show, 5/17/06]
Tucker Carlson: “White men” deserve credit for “creating civilization.”
CO-HOST: You're telling me.
TUCKER CARLSON: I don't like the feminist crap. I hate that and that's one of the reasons I despise the Democrats because they're always rolling that crap out. "Well, you don't like him because he's Black. You don't like her because she's a woman." Oh, shut the fuck up.
BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE: But go ahead, Spice.
CO-HOST: Hang on, Tuck. So you're telling me that this choice of him choosing Sarah [Palin] was a better choice than a Romney?
CARLSON: Yes, definitely.
CO-HOST: I just can't see it.
CARLSON: I feel like a more risky choice, needless to say, but don't think Rom -- you get anything out of Romney, I really don't.
CO-HOST: You get money and Michigan.
CARLSON: I know a lot of smart people disagree with me and I may be wrong, I just don't get it.
THE LOVE SPONGE: Tucker, you get money and you get Michigan -- with Mitt Romney, you get money and you get Michigan. With Charlie Crist --
CARLSON: I don't know that you get Michigan, I really don't.
THE LOVE SPONGE: And with Charlie Crist, you get fucking Florida, my friend.
CARLSON: I think they think they're getting Florida.
CO-HOST: I would really disagree. I think a lot of Floridians that I've talked to -- especially on Monday, I talked to a lot of people that are pissed off that McCain didn't go with Charlie in Florida.
THE LOVE SPONGE: At the end of the day, man, they should've went with [Mike] Huckabee, that's who they should’ve gone with.
CO-HOST: Absolutely, they should’ve gone with Huckabee
THE LOVE SPONGE: Well, that delivers the evangelical fucking vote and the South.
CO-HOST: And Huckabee's a likable guy. Yup. Huckabee's a likable guy that people will vote for.
THE LOVE SPONGE: See, we got it all figured out. We're just talking to ourselves, we don't even need Tucker. We got it all fucking figured out.
CARLSON: Well that's a really -- I don't know, Huckabee? Yeah, maybe Huckabee, I don't know though. Look, everybody is so intimidated by, you know, the Democratic Party and those whackies in the media on this race and gender nonsense. The country's so fucked up on the subject that getting a white man, I mean everyone's embarrassed to be a white man I guess, that's a bad thing.
THE LOVE SPONGE: No, I love being a white man. It kicks ass, my friend. I love it.
CARLSON: I don't have a problem with it. I don't really think of the world in those terms but, you know, white men, you know, they've contributed some, I would say.
CO-HOST: Well, quite a lot.
THE LOVE SPONGE: Tucker's high on pills.
CARLSON: Well, I mean creating civilization and stuff, I think they've done a pretty -- I don't know, whatever! I just don't like to think of the world in those terms but --
THE LOVE SPONGE: How many pieces of Nicorette has he had today?
CARLSON: A lot of people would rather see the world in those terms and a lot of people in politics do, and now the Republicans do even more and I just disapprove.
THE LOVE SPONGE: As a regular working lunch-pail guy like me, OK, not a very smart man at all, this is how I look at it. [Bubba the Love Sponge Show, 9/3/08]
Carlson: “Iraq is a crappy place filled with a bunch of, you know, semiliterate primitive monkeys -- that's why it wasn't worth invading.”
BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE: Fine people of Canada, please understand that Tucker is a very good friend of mine, but I in no way, shape, or form share his views of how he feels about people from Canada. I love Canada. They're great people up there. Tucker feels that you guys are a bunch of assholes.
TUCKER CARLSON: I totally disagree. If I didn't like Canada, I wouldn’t consider it worth invading. I mean, Iraq is a crappy place filled with a bunch of, you know, semiliterate primitive monkeys -- that’s why it wasn't worth invading.
THE LOVE SPONGE: Keep burying yourself.
CARLSON: But Canada's a solid place with good-looking women and good fishing. We should invade.
THE LOVE SPONGE: You will never get a speaking engagement in Canada, I promise. If whomever's going to hire you, they need to call me first and do a little bit of due diligence because --
CARLSON: Actually, did you know -- this is totally true -- I actually had a speaking gig canceled in Canada because of that.
THE LOVE SPONGE: Seriously?
CARLSON: I swear to God, last year. Yes, I did. Because I called them our retarded cousins. [Bubba the Love Sponge Show, 10/7/08]
Carlson: Afghanistan is "never going to be a civilized country because the people aren't civilized.”
CO-HOST: That's kind of what it is now outside of the areas controlled by the NATO forces. I mean --
TUCKER CARLSON: Well, it's never going to be a civilized country because the people aren't civilized. So -- but the question is can you mitigate the risk of, you know, Al Qaeda moving there again and setting up a home base unmolested. Yeah, you can do that. [Bubba the Love Sponge Show, 9/23/09]
Carlson: The war in Iraq could turn around “if, somehow, the Iraqis decided to behave like human beings.”
BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE: [George W.] Bush, this Bush has to go down as the worst president that I can remember, ever.
TUCKER CARLSON: Yeah, he will not go down as a good president. I agree. I agree. I mean, if Iraq turns out to be a great thing --
THE LOVE SPONGE: How can it turn out to be great? How could you salvage Iraq at this point?
CARLSON: I don't -- You know, it's beyond our control. I mean if, somehow, the Iraqis decided to behave like human beings or something. It's beyond that. We can’t -- I don't think we can control. I think that's the whole lesson of Iraq is that it is very difficult to control other people's countries.
CO-HOST: Yeah. Occupy it because there's no insurgency that has ever been successful. [Bubba the Love Sponge Show, 3/11/08]
Carlson: I have “zero sympathy” for Iraqis because they “don’t use toilet paper or forks.” They should “just shut the fuck up and obey” us.
CO-HOST: Well, here's the deal, everybody. These Arabs in Iraq aren't playing. We're the only ones that are playing.
CO-HOST: They don't like us.
CO-HOST: We are the only ones that are playing over there. They're not playing.
TUCKER CARLSON: They're also so just awful. Just awful.
CO-HOST: They're animals, dude. They are.
CARLSON: I hate the war. You know, I'm not defending the war in any way, but I just have zero sympathy for them or their culture. A culture where people just don't use toilet paper or forks.
CO-HOST: And the way they treat women -- you know, I agree with you. Their culture is -- but you’re in their homeland, and you’re over there as an American, who they hate, and they want nothing more than the Americans off of their soil, so they’re not going to play games.
CARLSON: The second we -- they can just shut the fuck up and obey, is my view. And, you know, the second we leave, they’re going to be calling for us to return because they can’t govern themselves. [Bubba the Love Sponge Show, 5/30/06]
Carlson fantasized about a presidential candidate blaming “lunatic Muslims who are behaving like animals” and saying “I'm going to kill as many of them as I can if you elect me.”
TUCKER CARLSON: I think they are. On the other hand, you know, the bottom line is the issue of security -- who's going to protect the country against, you know, the Muslim lunatics who want to hurt us -- is the only thing the Republicans have left. They can't claim that they're, you know, the party of fiscal restraint anymore. They're big spenders, and that's obvious. But that one argument, "Vote for us, we'll protect you," that still works, because on -- you know, let's be totally real. Nancy Pelosi's going to keep you safe while you sleep? I don't think so. She's not.
BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE: So -- so, now listen, can the Democrats not -- in the nine, or 10, or eight, or however many months there is -- can they not regroup or get a strategy going with, “Listen, we need to -- the only thing that these Republicans have is to keep you guys safe.” Can they not, you know, responsibly come up with some type of game plan where they can make us feel -- make people feel safe as well?
CARLSON: I think if they're -- Oh, they could, absolutely. If there were a Democrat to come out in the 2008 election and say, “You know what the problem is? It’s Islamic extremism. It's not terror, it's not some, you know, indefinable threat out there. It's these lunatic Muslims who are behaving like animals, and I'm going to kill as many of them as I can if you elect me.” If a Democrat were to say that, he would be elected king, OK?
THE LOVE SPONGE: So, I mean, like if a Democrat could say -- hey, if the Democrat basically had the same stance as you, and say, “Listen, the only thing that they have is they have everybody worked into a fever frenzy with regards to the country and how safe that their particular party can keep them. Well I, as a Democrat, can assure you that my party is going to be proactive in fighting these radical assholes.” Don't you think that guy would be money?
CARLSON: Yeah, but I think he'd need to say, "Look, I'm a bigot. OK, I'm a bigot. I don't like Islamic extremists. Like if you are really heavily into Islam, I really -- I'm sorry, I just don't -- I don’t care for you that much. And I don't care what that sounds like, you can call me a racist, you can call me whatever the fuck you want.”
THE LOVE SPONGE: And at this juncture, you could say that and not catch a lot of shit for it.
CARLSON: You certainly could. I’d vote for you if you said that. And I think that most Americans would.
CO-HOST: So, basically we need a racist president. “We need to get these Mexicans out of here, and the Islam. Let’s kill all the Muslims.”
CARLSON: Well, I don’t think --
CO-HOST: We need that.
CARLSON: I -- you know, I think that you're onto something. I mean, not someone who’s like a Klansman or anything, but someone who's totally unbound by P.C. rules, who will just say whatever the hell he wants.
You know, someone who really will -- and everyone claims, "Oh, I say it like it is." But nobody actually does. The guy who does, who says, "I'm unabashedly pro-American. Fuck the French. Who cares what they think? The Belgians? They don’t like it, they can pound sand.” You know what I mean? That guy is going to get elected. [Bubba the Love Sponge Show, 3/21/06]
Carlson: “The Congressional Black Caucus exists to blame the white man for everything, and I’m happy to say that in public because it’s true.”
TUCKER CARLSON: I've seen a lot more of the typical -- and I mean this -- typical whining from a Black politician about how, “You don't like me because I'm Black.” Using racism as a defense, right? I catch you doing something bad, “Well, oh, you're a racist.” That is something that I have covered up close and personal my entire adult life for 17 years being around Black politicians saying that exact thing. The Congressional Black Caucus exists to blame the white man for everything, and I'm happy to say that in public because it's true. Everyone knows it's true. [Bubba the Love Sponge Show, 8/5/08]
Carlson called efforts to increase diversity in radio programming “worse than Jim Crow.”
BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE: And meanwhile, if it does go through, we have to give up to 20 percent of our programming to African-Americans.
CO-HOST: Yeah, non-Hispanic minorities.
THE LOVE SPONGE: Yes, 20 percent of our channels have to be donated for free to a non-Hispanic, Black company.
TUCKER: CARLSON: Why would that -- I mean, on what grounds?
THE LOVE SPONGE: Because they're the fucking FCC and what they say goes. Period. Now how fucking unfair is that?
CARLSON: That's the Democratic Party for you, right there, all that racial nonsense.
CO-HOST: But it's the Republican FCC that's held it up this long.
THE LOVE SPONGE: It's the Republican, it's the Repub --
CARLSON: Has it really? Hasn't -- Kevin Martin is for that?
THE LOVE SPONGE: Yep. Now -- well you know the makeup of the FCC is 3-2 with Republicans being 3.
CARLSON: That's the most racist thing I think I've heard today.
THE LOVE SPONGE: So the bottom line is they're going to -- All the good people that've worked for both companies, XM and Sirius, all the good wonderful broadcasters that have worked so hard putting these things on, all the people that've cut the deals, all the technology, and all the engineers, everybody from A to Z, all that shit goes out the window and you have to hand over 20 percent of your fucking channels to somebody else for free, basically --
CARLSON: Who didn't do shit.
CARLSON: Just because of the color of his skin, he gets an advantage over you.
THE LOVE SPONGE: Abso-fucking-lutely.
CARLSON: So how is that different from Jim Crow? In fact, how is that not worse than Jim Crow?
CO-HOST: It really is. And to boot, Tucker, it's not like Sirius doesn't have any African-American programming. [Bubba the Love Sponge Show, 7/14/08]
Carlson agreed that Michelle Obama is “going to be a problem for him” because she “turns into a sister” as part of a racist discussion about the Obamas
BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE: Tuck! We're talking about the fine African-American presidential candidate playing fucking basketball.
TUCKER CARLSON: I'm so sorry. You started yelling and it reset my phone.
CO-HOST: You know what, he would kick your ass and school you in basketball.
THE LOVE SPONGE: Hey, Tucker. Obama would kick your ass playing basketball
CARLSON: Yeah, of course he would. Basketball? Come on.
THE LOVE SPONGE: He's Black -- say it. He's a real brother. Do you think --
CARLSON: I don't know how Black he is, but I'm sure he's a good basketball player -- he says he is, anyway.
THE LOVE SPONGE: I've been watching Obama's wife, is it Michelle?
CO-HOST: Michelle, yeah.
THE LOVE SPONGE: It seems like they might have her -- they might be whitening her a little bit. What do you think?
CO-HOST: I'll tell you what, yesterday she got ghetto and started snapping her neck. I'm like, that's a real sister right there.
THE LOVE SPONGE: No, she needs to do less of that, man. People in Indiana and Pennsylvania --
CARLSON: She's going to be a problem for him.
CO-HOST: If you, if you --
CARLSON: I know you guys are so, deeply in like grade-school, embarrassed-to-stand-up kind of love with him.
CO-HOST: No, with her.
THE LOVE SPONGE: No.
CARLSON: With her? Are you all for her too?
THE LOVE SPONGE: No, I think she can be a problem. She can be a liability.
CARLSON: She's got an edge to her that's bad.
THE LOVE SPONGE: Yeah. I agree.
CARLSON: I'm not attacking her personally. I'm just saying, as a public figure, you just get the feeling she's got a major chip on her shoulder.
THE LOVE SPONGE: Not only that.
CO-HOST: So what?
THE LOVE SPONGE: But she gets a little chicken-headed at times.
CO-HOST: I love it.
THE LOVE SPONGE: She turns into a sister --
CARLSON: Turns into a sister.
THE LOVE SPONGE: She does. She gets that whole, you know, three snaps and a fucking whirl around kind of deal.
CO-HOST: I love it. That gets me --
THE LOVE SPONGE: Well, you see, I'm a guy who loves Obama, but that kind of shit I don't like. They need to whiten her up a little bit.
CO-HOST: That's so racist.
THE LOVE SPONGE: That's not racist.
CO-HOST: They need to whiten her up?
THE LOVE SPONGE: Yeah. It's not. I'm going to vote for her husband. He's a Black man.
CO-HOST: He's half-Black, that's why you like him. [Bubba the Love Sponge Show, 4/16/08]
Carlson: “Everybody knows that Barack Obama would still be in the state Senate in Illinois if he were white.”
TUCKER CARLSON: I still can't get over, you know, Obama saying, “They're going to attack me because I'm Black.” I mean, that's just ridiculous. I mean, that is so low to say something like that.
CO-HOST: Well, see, Tucker, here's the --
CARLSON: Everybody knows that Barack Obama would still be in the state Senate in Illinois if he were white.
BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE: Hold on now --
CARLSON: I mean --
THE LOVE SPONGE: Hold on, Tucker, hold on. You don't know --
CARLSON: That's true. Come on. Let's be real here.
THE LOVE SPONGE: You don't deal with the public like we do. We have an open forum to the public, and we hear how these people think, and how these people act. And let me tell you something, he's not far off.
CO-HOST: No, he's not far off.
THE LOVE SPONGE: We answer the phone and be like, "Hi, Bubba Show." "Yeah, let me tell you something, that fucking n----- ain't going to -- and fuck." I mean, seriously. It's really sad, Tucker, you have no --
CARLSON: Well, there are some serious crackers out there. I'm not saying that there aren't racists.
THE LOVE SPONGE: I'm just telling you, Tucker, you don’t have --
CARLSON: There are tons of ugly, ugly, ugly racists out there.
THE LOVE SPONGE: Living in your little Beltway --
CARLSON: I'm just saying it cuts both ways. I mean, it cuts both ways.
THE LOVE SPONGE: No, no, no.
CARLSON: And Obama has -- will he be hurt by the fact he's Black? There's no question about that. No one doubts that. But he will also be helped, as he has been helped. [Bubba the Love Sponge Show, 8/5/08]
Carlson on Barack Obama: “How is he Black, for one thing? He has one white parent, one Black parent.”
CO-HOST: I think John Edwards -- the sky's the limit for him if he really hones his skills and focuses down, I think the sky's the limit for John Edwards.
TUCKER CARLSON: He's a great speaker, but he's a trial -- I mean, I find him really charming, he's a nice guy in person, but he's a trial lawyer.
BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE: Ned, you always thought he was pretty hot, didn't you?
CO-HOST: He's hot. You know what -- you know who else is good in the Democratic Party is Barack Obama. I think he's --
THE LOVE SPONGE: Oh man, I -- that Black guy from Chicago?
THE LOVE SPONGE: I love that guy. How about you? I love that guy, Tucker.
CARLSON: I don't really see the appeal with that guy.
THE LOVE SPONGE: Well, he's Black, and he's pretty --
CARLSON: How is he Black, for one thing? He has one white parent, one Black parent.
THE LOVE SPONGE: Well, he --
CARLSON: So that makes him -- I mean, why isn't he white?
CO-HOST: Well, the U.S. government says that if you're more than 33 percent a minority, then you're that minority.
CARLSON: That sounds like some kind of Nazi rule.
CO-HOST: Well, that's our government!
CARLSON: I know, and I totally disapprove of that!
THE LOVE SPONGE: He's Black, he's well-educated, he's well-spoken, and some asshole tried to move in and take his territory, didn't they, Brent? I'm thinking pro wrestling terms.
CO-HOST: Yeah, Alan Keyes tried to move in there --
THE LOVE SPONGE: Yeah, he got his --
CO-HOST: He got ripped.
THE LOVE SPONGE: What a fucking dumbass.
CARLSON: Alan Keyes is one of the great figures in American life.
THE LOVE SPONGE: Yeah, that shows how much you don't know how. Anybody could have sat Alan Keyes down and said, "You ain't got a chance in hell with [inaudible] in Chicago, IL. It ain't going to happen.”
CARLSON: Oh, Alan Keyes is insane.
CARLSON: But he is so awesome to listen to. I once covered a speech that he gave and he was late because he’s always late. Like an hour late. And this guy comes out, his campaign manager, and starts talking to the crowd, right? And he says, "You know, I was actually a Radio Shack manager in Colorado Springs up until about three months ago when I saw Dr. Keyes on C-SPAN and I dropped everything and left my family to go work for Alan Keyes," and he says, "Alan Keyes is such a great speaker. He's such a great speaker!" And then the guy burst into tears. He started crying --
CO-HOST: Oh my God.
CARLSON: Talking about what a great speaker he was.
THE LOVE SPONGE: That guy is an idiot. [Bubba the Love Sponge Show, [4/4/06]
Carlson denied that racism still exists while Bubba described white women with “jungle fever” as “mud sharks.”
BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE: You don't know shit about churches.
CARLSON: Yes I do.
CO-HOST: I was raised in Southern Baptist churches my whole life. When I was 15, I quit going because those people are so stupid and fucking racist.
CARLSON: Well, that may be true, but I don't believe that a pastor of like a legitimate church with more than 50 people in the pews --
CO-HOST: It's used in --
CARLSON: -- got up there and said the problem is Black people. I don’t believe it.
CO-HOST: It's said in coded language, words like miscegenation.
CARLSON: Oh, OK.
CO-HOST: And everybody in the fucking congregation knows what the priest is saying.
THE LOVE SPONGE: I don't. I don't even know what that word means.
CO-HOST: It means Black men going out with white women is what it means.
CARLSON: It means race mixing.
THE LOVE SPONGE: We call it jungle fever where I come from.
CO-HOST: It's race mixing.
THE LOVE SPONGE: We call them bitches mud sharks.
CO-HOST: And in places like Mississippi where they had the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission and places that were meant to subjugate Blacks, everybody in the congregation knew what that meant and the churches supported things like the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission.
CO-HOST: Tuck, Tuck, I think --
CARLSON: That's definitely true 40 years ago, but I'm talking about in 2008. Unless it's like that crackpot "God hates fags" guy or whatever, or Christian Identity or something, you know, I don't --
CO-HOST: Or the guy that endorsed McCain, Hagee?
CARLSON: Yeah. He hates Black people?
CO-HOST: No, he doesn't hate Black people, but he hates Catholics. So I mean --
THE LOVE SPONGE: Well, he might be onto something there. [Bubba the Love Sponge Show, 4/8/08]
Zachary Pleat, Nick Fernandez, Courtney Hagle, Grace Bennett, Brendan Karet, Rebecca Martin, and Jason Campbell contributed research.