Dutch historian Rutger Bregman has released a video of an unaired interview he gave to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, in which host Tucker Carlson has a meltdown and uses profanity against Bregman after the historian mentions Carlson’s wealth as a reason why he doesn’t discuss certain topics on his show.
On February 11, Bregman tweeted that Carlson “just called me a ‘fucking moron’ during a prerecord for his show for pointing out that he’s a millionaire funded by billionaires.” He later tweeted a screenshot of a message that said “below is a message from Tucker Carlson directly” and quoted Carlson as calling Bregman “an asshole” and “far dumber, more dogmatic and less impressive than I expected.” The next day, Bregman asked Carlson on Twitter why he didn’t air the interview on his show the night before and advised him to air it and “try to resist the temptation to edit, I've recorded the full thing - including that moment when you start swearing profusely.” One of Carlson’s producers released a statement to Splinter News that said Bregman turned the segment “into an obviously calculated personal insult campaign” and that “we … respect our audience’s time too much to consider airing it.”
Bregman eventually gave the video to NowThisNews, and the outlet released it on February 20. According to Bregman, he “chose to release it, because I think we should keep talking about the corrupting influence of money in politics. It also shows how angry elites can get if you do that.”
The unaired segment shows that Carlson’s recent attempts to distinguish himself as a supposed critic of capitalism are nothing more than empty platitudes. After Bregman proposed higher taxes on the wealthy as a means to mitigate the harms of inequality, the Fox host pivoted to avoid endorsing or rebutting the idea. But when Bregman said to him, “You are a millionaire funded by billionaires and that’s the reason you’re not talking about these issues” Carlson went off the rails and began cursing: “Why don’t you go fuck yourself, you tiny brain -- and I hope this gets picked up because you’re a moron. I tried to give you a hearing but you were too fucking annoying.”
When Tucker Carlson criticizes “elites” like corporations, he ultimately brings it back around to ethno-nationalism and demonizes immigrants. Bregman has done a tremendous service: By showing that the real problem is the wealth gap, he exposed Carlson’s position as a fraud. Carlson’s ongoing campaign to mainstream white nationalism is fundamentally incompatible with the project of reducing inequality.
The only shame is that Carlson’s audience will never hear about it.