Rich Polk/Getty Images for Politicon
- Recordings resurfaced by Media Matters for America Sunday evening revealed Fox News host Tucker Carlson comparing women to dogs, calling women "primitive," and defending polygamist cult leader Warren Jeffs, among other things.
- In a statement, Carlson refused to apologize, calling his statements "naughty," and inviting people that disagree with him onto his show.
- People are comparing Carlson’s statements to those from Milo Yiannopoulos in 2017 that stifled his career.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson is in hot water after the progressive media watchdog Media Matters for America published recordings of call-ins from Carlson to shock jock radio program "Bubba The Love Sponge," which originally aired between 2006 and 2011. The recordings feature Carlson making numerous degrading statements about women, calling them "primitive" and comparing them to dogs, and defending the now-convicted child sexual abuser Warren Jeffs.
In a statement, Carlson refused to apologize, saying, "Media Matters caught me saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago. Rather than express the usual ritual contrition, how about this: I’m on television every weeknight live for an hour. If you want to know what I think, you can watch. Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why."
The contents of the tapes are varied. They cover everything from Warren Jeffs to sex work.
Associated Press/Tony Gutierrez
The tapes cover a wide range of topics, with Carlson critiquing the appearance of numerous women, contesting the prosecution of Warren Jeffs, and calling women "primitive."
In multiple clips, Carlson appeared to draw a distinction between child marriage and child rape.
"The rapist, in this case, has made a lifelong commitment to live and take care of the person, so it is a little different. I mean, let’s be honest about it," Carlson argues about marriage, before clarifying that he’s against the practice.
In a clip dated to 2009, Carlson is heard defending Warren Jeffs, who was awaiting trial at the time on sex crime charges related to his organized polygamist cult, that allegedly arranged marriages between adult men and underage girls. Jeffs was suspected of running the group from prison, but the case was eventually dismissed because two alleged victims backed out of testifying. In 2011, Jeffs was convicted on two counts of child sexual assault and sentenced to life in prison.
In the tape, Carlson says, "here’s my point: If a guy wants to be polygamist, that’s kind of his business."
When pressed about the age of the children involved, Carlson responded, "He’s not accused of touching anybody; he is accused of facilitating a marriage between a 16-year-old girl and a 27-year-old man. That’s the accusation. That’s what they’re calling felony rape. [crosstalk] That’s bullshit. I’m sorry. Now this guy may be [crosstalk], may be a child rapist I’m just telling you that arranging a marriage between a 16-year-old and a 27-year-old is not the same as pulling a stranger off the street and raping her."
Carlson went on to compare underage polygamy to gay marriage, arguing, "It’s disgusting! I think the religion is ridiculous, I think it’s a cult, I think it’s totally immoral. But that’s not the point. The question is, two questions — one: Is this guy one of the top 10 most dangerous people in America? The answer is no, unequivocally no. And two: If you’re, like, for the government butting out of the bedroom and for gay marriage, and for the right of strip clubs to operate unimpeded by governments — how exactly can you be against polygamy? On what grounds are you against polygamy? I don’t get that."
In other segments, Carlson directly attacked and critiqued the appearance of specific women.
In 2010, Carlson said now Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan is "never going to be an attractive woman."
"I don’t like [Kagan] and I wouldn’t vote to confirm her if I were a U.S. senator. But I do feel sorry for her in that way. I feel sorry for unattractive women. I mean it’s nothing they did. You know, she didn’t. Nobody deserves that," he said.
In 2006, Carlson called TV host Alexis Stewart "extremely c–ty." The same year he called Ariana Huffington "a pig."
Carlson also made general statements about women, in 2006, saying "You just need to be quiet and kind of do what you’re told," when talking about political discussions with women.
In 2007, Carlson compared women to dogs, saying, "they’re extremely primitive, they’re basic, they’re not that hard to understand. And one of the things they hate more than anything is weakness in a man."
Carlson addressed other topics, which can be read in full here.
Some are comparing the recordings to those that left Milo Yiannopoulos mired in scandal
Multiple reporters have compared the recordings to those that mired far-right pundit Milo Yiannopoulos in scandal and ultimately paved the way to his resignation from Breitbart and the termination of his book deal with Simon & Schuster.
In 2016, Yiannopoulos defended certain sexual relationships between children and adults, saying "there are certainly people who are capable of giving consent at a younger age, I certainly consider myself to be one of them." In 2017, Yiannopoulos received major backlash for the comments, which eventually paved the way to numerous contract cancellations with the personality.
Others have pointed out the apparent irony of the tapes, noting that Carlson frequently employs historical critiques using past statements in his own work, and has targeted individuals for being "creepy."
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