Tucker Carlson returns to Fox News from “planned” vacation with anti-abortion misinformation

Carlson's top writer recently resigned for racist and offensive posts

Tucker Carlson with headline about Kanye West and abortion

Citation Molly Butler / Media Matters

On July 20, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson returned to the network following his “planned” vacation after the resignation of his top writer for racist, misogynistic, and homophobic posts on an online message board. During his first reappearance on the network, Carlson returned to his old ways by promoting anti-abortion misinformation steeped in anti-Black rhetoric.

Carlson’s former writer, Blake Neff, resigned from his job following reporting by CNN’s Oliver Darcy that Neff “has for years been using a pseudonym to post bigoted remarks on an online forum that is a hotbed for racist, sexist, and other offensive content.” However, Carlson and Fox News would certainly have already been well aware of the many offensive posts that Neff wrote for The Daily Caller, the right-wing news outlet Carlson co-founded.

Carlson himself has a history of promoting white supremacist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic views on his show and elsewhere. Following Neff’s resignation, Carlson said that “what Blake wrote anonymously was wrong” and “we don’t endorse those words.” However, Carlson also issued a vague threat against the reporters who exposed Neff’s views and announced he would be taking a long-planned vacation. Many Fox News hosts -- including Carlson himself last year -- have suddenly fled the network for apparent planned vacations in the past following criticism and controversy -- and some never returned.

But Carlson did return -- this time. Carlson reemerged on July 20 with a return to one of his favorite subjects: anti-abortion misinformation. He promoted lies about abortion clinics following rapper Kanye West’s rally to launch his campaign for the presidency.

Video file

Citation From the July 20, 2020, edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight

At the rally, West claimed that “his father had wanted his mother to have an abortion and that he considered an abortion when his wife was pregnant with their daughter North,” as Insider summarized. Carlson referenced those remarks and a comment West made about abortion clinics in a Forbes interview, praising West for talking about his experiences with abortion as “something you probably haven't seen before because, of course, it's never happened: a Grammy Award-winning musician making an appeal, an emotional appeal, against abortion.”

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): No speech writer wrote that, and it's a dangerous point if you think about it. They can say they love you. They can tell you your life matters. But if they clutter your neighborhood with abortion clinics, they're lying. That's a real argument. But no one wanted to engage it, of course, and so they called him crazy. And by the way, maybe he is, but it's still a point worth talking about. 

CARLSON: And he's totally right, of course, and he is immediately dismissed as a mental patient. Has that become that controversial statement to CNN? Maybe it has.

Carlson’s claim that “they clutter your neighborhood with abortion clinics” refers to anti-abortion misinformation about the prevalence of abortion clinics in Black neighborhoods. As We Testify storytellers Kenya Martin, CoWanda Rusk, and Renee Bracey Sherman explained for Rewire.News:

This widespread anti-abortion myth—that abortion clinics are more prevalent in communities of color—is false. The Guttmacher Institute, a nonpartisan research organization, found that only 13 percent of abortion clinics are in majority Latinx communities and fewer than 1 in 10 clinics are in majority Black communities. Ironically, the fact that over 60 percent of abortion clinics are located in majority-white neighborhoods creates logistical and financial barriers for people of color who need access to abortions.

Bracey Sherman, the executive director and founder of We Testify, further tweeted:

Carlson also completely ignored West's comment during the rally that abortion should be legal. Instead, Carlson’s post-vacation break proved to be an unfortunate return to form on this issue. The Fox News host loves to promote anti-abortion misinformation on his show, including earlier this year when Carlson pushed an anti-abortion myth about “Black genocide” in order to downplay police brutality against Black communities.

Welcome back, Tucker. It seems despite a planned vacation to clear your head, you’ll continue promoting anti-abortion lies and bigoted talking points as always.