Tucker Carlson refuses to apologize for misogynistic comments in unearthed audio

Christopher Wilson
Senior Writer

During call-ins to a radio show years ago, now-Fox News host Tucker Carlson defended a convicted sex criminal and made a series of misogynistic comments for which he has refused to apologize.

In audio published by Media Matters on Sunday evening, Carlson’s discussions with the “Bubba the Love Sponge” radio program between 2006 and 2011 included a defense of Warren Jeffs, among other topics. Jeffs, the leader of a polygamous offshoot of Mormonism, spent time on the FBI’s Most Wanted List in 2006 for charges of sexual assault of minors.

In the tapes, Carlson also called women “primitive” and called Britney Spears and Paris Hilton “white whores.”

Tucker Carlson (Photo: Richard Drew/AP)

After the audio emerged Sunday, Carlson declined to apologize for any of the comments and invited anyone who had an issue to appear on his show.

"Media Matters caught me saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago," said Carlson in a statement posted to Twitter. Media Matters is a media watchdog group that has long been critical of Fox News.

Carlson continued: "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."

His claim that the tapes were “naughty” downplays his comments about underage girls. In 2006, Carlson attempted to argue that he didn’t trust all of the government’s charges against Jeffs, didn’t believe Jeffs belonged on the Most Wanted List, and 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.”

“Look, just to make it absolutely clear,” said Carlson in an August 2009 clip. “I am not defending underage marriage at all. I just don't think it's the same thing exactly as pulling a child from a bus stop and sexually assaulting that child.”

“Yeah, it should be almost — you almost should put a premeditation,” said Bubba.

“Wait, wait! Hold on a second. 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,” said Carlson, adding, “I got myself in a position that seem like I'm defending it, because I am against that.”

During that same discussion, Carlson said of Jeffs: “He's in prison because he's weird and unpopular and he has a different lifestyle that other people find creepy.”

“I should make the laws around here, and Michael Vick would have been executed, and Warren Jeffs would be out on the street,” said Carlson, referring to the former NFL quarterback’s conviction for running a dogfighting ring.

In 2011, Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison for the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl and another 25 years for the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl. At the sentencing hearing, Jeffs’s nephew testified that he had been raped by his uncle when he was 5 years old.

Tucker Carlson speaking at the Los Angeles Convention Center last year. (Photo: Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images)

Carlson also mentioned both polygamy and sex with teenagers in a January 2008 appearance in which he suggested former President Bill Clinton should divorce his wife, Hillary, and, “you know, take up plural marriage or something with a bunch of teenagers in a foreign country.” Later in 2008, Carlson called singer Britney Spears and reality star socialite Paris Hilton the “biggest white whores in America.”

In October 2007, Carlson compared women to dogs and called them “extremely primitive.”

“Because they hate weakness,” said Carlson. “They're like dogs that way. They can smell it on you, and they have contempt for it; they’ll bite you. I mean, I love women, but 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.

In a 2006 appearance, Carlson joked that a 13-year-old boy who was said to have had sex with his teacher 28 times in one week deserved “a Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

Despite Carlson’s Sunday night statement in which he invited his critics to come onto his show, the Fox host opted not to air an interview he did last month with leftist historian Rutger Bregman, who had advocated for higher taxes on the wealthy at the Davos conference in Switzerland. In a recording of the interview made by Bregman, Carlson calls him a “moron” and tells him to “go f*** himself” after Bregman said he was a bandwagon populist who serves billionaires.

“‘Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why,’” wrote Bregman, quoting Carlson’s statement about the Media Matters report, before adding, “Just make sure to make your own recording.”

Carlson has seen more than two dozen advertisers pull out over the last few months over his comment that immigrants make the United States “dirtier.”


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