Tucker Carlson’s right-wing outlet The Daily Caller has long advanced conspiracy theories, recently promoted Pizzagaters and white nationalists, and routinely propped up GOP policies with shoddy online writing, including from notorious plagiarizers. But there is one uniquely horrifying editorial element of this website that it deserves to be tied to forever: The Daily Caller has had a years-long, unchecked fixation with mocking survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
For years, The Daily Caller has routinely posted abhorrent stories making fun of reported sexual abuse of children and teenagers by adult women perpetrators. A whole category of posts beginning in 2013 are tagged as “Teacher sex” on the site -- more than 100 in total. Taken together, they suggest that boys and young men cannot be victims of sexual abuse if the reported abuser is an attractive young woman who uses gifts or special treatment as a form of sexual coercion. The “Teacher sex” posts largely follow the same formula:
- The headlines and bodies of the posts frequently include words designed to imply the abuse was consensual, e.g. “GOBS of sex,” “Holiday Inn sex romp,” “tryst,” “mind-blowing,” “getting busy,” “summer of love,” “banging, “9-HOUR THREESOME,” “standing-up classroom sex,” “months-long sex fling,” “sex in steamy car,” “epic student-teacher threesome,” “festive”;
- The accompanying images are almost always pictures of the reported perpetrator, sometimes mugshots and sometimes personal photos;
- The posts often include some commentary implying the reported perpetrator is physically attractive, e.g. “twentysomething,” “hot,” “blonde,” “raunchy nude photos”;
- The posts use words like “traumatized” and “victimizes” sarcastically, e.g. “Female Teacher, Staffer Victimize Male Students With Traumatic SEX ON THE BEACH”; and
- The posts also often include details meant to suggest the abuse was wanted by the survivor, or fun for him, e.g. “trip to Disneyland,” “giving them beer,” “bought him an Xbox,” “HANDCRAFTED porn,” “offer of exotic oral sex,” “bathrobe strip in ‘man cave’.”
Another thing nearly all these posts have in common: They are written by Eric Owens, The Daily Caller’s education editor.
Here are just a few examples that have been posted since last October, when the #MeToo movement began to dominate public conversation:
Owens also has a long history of mocking queer and trans students -- which seems to have kept his “education” writing isolated in the Daily Caller cesspool. (Owens was previously moonlighting at a niche education outlet but appeared to have stopped writing for it after Media Matters pointed out his predilection for bullying LGBTQ kids back in 2015.)
It’s worth remembering that The Daily Caller was co-founded by professional misogynist and outrage-haver Tucker Carlson, Fox News’ far-right and neo-Nazi darling. Carlson uses his current Fox evening show to bully and yell about women -- often right in their faces -- and sometimes spur their online harassment. It’s no wonder his website seems to devote its entire “entertainment” section to objectifying women celebrities, or that its education editor is focused primarily on writing horrifying things about vulnerable kids.
It’s toxic masculinity at its peak: The Daily Caller wants its young men readers to believe they have the right to objectify women’s bodies; and if someone tries to hurt them or take away any ownership of their own bodies, the correct reaction is to repress the trauma they experience and pretend the abuse was funny and cool.