Tucker Carlson responded Sunday night to the discovery of controversial and off-color comments he made during conversations with a radio “shock jock” between 2006 and 2011, urging people who wanted to know more about what he thought to watch his primetime program on Fox News Channel.
Media Matters for America, a liberal advocacy group, posted excerpts from various broadcasts by Bubba the Love Sponge, a popular radio host whose real name is Todd Alan Clem. During various shows, Carlson made negative, often misogynistic remarks about some celebrities and appeared to defend Warren Jeffs, the religious leader who had been placed on the FBI’s most-wanted fugitive list on charges he had arranged marriages between his adult male followers and underage girls
“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,” Carlson said in a statement Sunday night. “Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why.” The comments appear to be made while Carlson was working as a host for MSNBC or as a contributor for Fox News Channel.
During his radio calls, Carlson made pejorative statement about Arianna Huffington, Britney Spears and Alexis Stewart, Martha Stewart’s daughter, according to transcripts posted by Media Matters. In a statement aimed directly at Carlson posted Sunday night via Twitter, Angelo Carusone, president of the organization, said the group released the radio conversations “because the things you say on your Fox News show echo the misogyny displayed in those clips.”
The controversy is the latest to involve the cable-news host, who has one of the most-watched programs in cable news and who leads Fox News’ primetime lineup Monday through Friday.
In December, a group of advertisers asked Fox News to move their commercials out of his 8 p.m. program, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” in the wake of remarks the host made about immigration. Fox News’ primetime sponsors occasionally find themselves placed under scrutiny by progressive activist groups, who use the hosts’ off-putting comments to galvanize support. Laura Ingraham twice came under a microscope last year, once for suggesting detention facilities for children being taken from migrants entering the U.S. illegally were like “summer camps,” and also for remarks she made on social media about one of the survivors of the shooting tragedy in Parkland Florida.
Fox News supported both hosts during past boycotts and said it would not let them be “censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts.”