April 9, 2021
Chief Executive Officer
Fox News Channel
Dear Ms. Scott:
Last night, in a segment on his program dealing with voting rights and allegations of voter disenfranchisement, Tucker Carlson disgustingly gave an impassioned defense of the white supremacist “great replacement theory,” the hateful notion that the white race is in danger of being “replaced” by a rising tide of non-whites. While couching his argument in terms of what he described as the Democratic Party attempting to replace traditional voters with immigrants from third-world countries, Carlson’s rhetoric was not just a dog whistle to racists – it was a bullhorn.
Make no mistake: this is dangerous stuff. The “great replacement theory” is a classic white supremacist trope that undergirds the modern white supremacist movement in America. It is a concept that is discussed almost daily in online racist fever swamps. It is a notion that fueled the hateful chants of “Jews will not replace us!” in Charlottesville in 2017. And it has lit the fuse in explosive hate crimes, most notably the hate-motivated mass shooting attacks in Pittsburgh, Poway and El Paso, as well as in Christchurch, New Zealand.
In short, this is not legitimate political discourse. It is dangerous race-baiting, extreme rhetoric. And yet, unfortunately, it is the culmination of a pattern of increasingly divisive rhetoric used by Carlson over the past few years. His anti-immigrant rhetoric has embraced subtle appeals to racism and, at times more blatantly has put him on the same side as white supremacists. Furthermore, Carlson has suggested that the very idea of white supremacy in the U.S. is a hoax, earning him plaudits from former Klansman David Duke and white supremacist Richard Spencer, who have both praised Carlson’s show for echoing their own talking points.
Here’s a sampling of the myriad examples our researchers have gathered from his Fox show:
- In January, Carlson offered his viewers a full-throated defense of the antisemitic QAnon conspiracy theory.
- In December 2020, Carlson parroted white supremacist and antisemitic conspiracy theories by blaming Jewish philanthropist George Soros for Americans being “robbed, raped and killed.”
- Last July, he questioned the patriotism of two Democratic members of Congress who are both women of color: Rep. Ilhan Omar and Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. He said, in reference to the congresswomen’s immigrant backgrounds, “Maybe we are importing people from places whose values are simply antithetical to ours.”
- Days after the mass shooting attack in August 2019 at an El Paso Walmart at the hands of an avowed white supremacist, Carlson suggested that white supremacy in America was “not a real problem.” In January 2021 he again questioned whether white supremacy was even real, saying, “So again, what is a white supremacist? You might be surprised to learn just how broad the definition for that has become.”
- In December 2018, Carlson suggested immigrants make the U.S. “dirtier.”
- Carlson has attacked ethnic diversity in this country, saying, in 2018, that it was “radically and permanently” changing America for the worse. He has also claimed that immigration makes the country “poorer, and dirtier, and more divided.”
- Past guests on his show have included Pete D’Abrosca, who has expressed sympathy for alt-right leaders; British commentator Katie Hopkins, who was banned from Twitter for violating its hateful content policy; and U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa, whom he defended for tweeting that America could not “restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
And I’m able to share many additional examples we’ve found of such rhetoric being employed on his program.
It was shocking to hear this kind of open-ended endorsement of white supremacist ideology from an anchor and commentator on your network. At ADL, we believe in dialogue and giving people a chance to redeem themselves, but Carlson’s full-on embrace of the white supremacist replacement theory on yesterday’s show and his repeated allusions to racist themes in past segments are a bridge too far.
Given his long record of race-baiting, we believe it is time for Carlson to go.
I’m available at any time to discuss this matter further and look forward to your timely response.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt
CEO and National Director
ADL (Anti-Defamation League)