First, Fox News host Tucker Carlson refused to back down on calling women “extremely primitive” on a shock jock radio show after recordings of his typical call-ins several years ago were brought to light over the weekend. Now he’s facing recordings that feature him calling Iraqis “semiliterate primitive monkeys” and praising white men for “creating civilization and stuff.”
Both sets of recordings, taken from segments of a conservative talk radio show called “Bubba the Love Sponge,” were released by Media Matters for America. In the first set of comments, recorded between 2006 and 2011, Carlson can be heard calling Britney Spears and Paris Hilton “whores,” criticizing feminism and suggesting child marriage isn’t on par with child rape.
In the second set of recordings, released Monday night, Carlson can be heard calling Iraqis “awful” and saying they “don’t use toilet paper or forks.” He also called Iraq a “crappy place filled with a bunch of, you know, semiliterate primitive monkeys.” During a 2006 call-in to the radio show, Carlson questioned Barack Obama’s racial identity because “he has one white parent, one black parent” and said he hoped for a presidential candidate that would be prejudiced against Muslims.
“Like, if you are really heavily into Islam — I’m sorry, I 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,” Carlson, 49, said.
When the host responded to Carlson’s comments, saying, “You could say that and not catch a lot of shit for” it, Carlson responded: “I’d vote for you if you said that.”
Carlson was opening his nightly show on Fox News, which he’s hosted since 2016, around 8 p.m. Monday when the second set of recordings dropped, so it’s unclear whether he had heard them. He said during his opening monologue that he had fallen victim to the “great American outrage machine.”
“It’s a bewildering moment, especially when the quotes in question are more than a decade old,” Carlson said, arguing the recordings were a partisan attack. “There’s really not that much you can do to respond, it’s pointless to try to explain how the words were spoken in jest, or taken out of context.”
Still, the comments could throw Carlson into the mix of another advertiser boycott — a drastic move for companies hoping to reach viewers of the most-watched news channel. His Monday night show had four ad breaks with few blue-chip advertisers, according to Variety, although it’s not clear whether that’s a regular ad load for the show. AstraZeneca, the drugmaker, pulled its advertisements from Carlson’s slot, and is the only advertiser to publicly do so after the recordings were released.
After Carlson made starkly anti-immigrant comments during a segment last December, he lost advertisers as well.
Cover: In this March 2, 2017, file photo, Tucker Carlson, host of "Tucker Carlson Tonight," poses for photos in a Fox News Channel studio in New York. Washington police are investigating a protest outside the home of Carlson as a possible hate crime. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)