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On July 13, Tucker Carlson took some time during his Fox News show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, to address a report that his top writer had anonymously posted racist and sexist comments online. Blake Neff, the writer in question, resigned from his position after the discovery of his hateful messages on AutoAdmit, an anonymous message board for lawyers and law students.
While Fox News and Carlson have both made public statements repudiating Neff’s comments, which included the use of the n-word, the popular conservative host has repeatedly faced harsh criticism for alleged white supremacist views. Last year, audio of Carlson speaking on a radio show resurfaced from years ago, which included the host making racist comments about Iraqis and immigrants.
The Blake Neff controversy
Over the weekend, CNN Business reported on Neff’s comments on the AutoAdmit (or XOXOhth) message boards. The report came with a warning that it quoted “racist, homophobic and sexist language.”
In addition to the uncensored use of the n-word, Neff, who posted as CharlesXII, says crime is down because “Black doods” are inside playing video games. Neff’s posts on the board go back years, with him devoting a five-year-long thread to ridiculing one specific woman for her dating life (the woman is not identified).
Neff, who was posting on the board as recently as last week, also used derogatory language for homosexuals. At other times, he mocked Black people who had died at the hands of the police, including George Floyd and Sandra Bland, whose suicide in police custody has sparked outrage.
CNN Business reported that there is an array of evidence provided by the poster that proves it was Neff, including biographical details that align with his life and images posted by CharlesXII in which Neff’s reflection can be seen.
Neff didn’t respond to CNN’s request for comment, but by Friday afternoon, he had resigned from Tucker Carlson Tonight.
Prior to working at Fox News, Neff had been a writer at The Hill before shifting to The Daily Caller, a conservative news site partially owned by Carlson.
In an interview with his alma mater, Dartmouth, Neff claimed, “Anything [Carlson’s] reading off the teleprompter, the first draft was written by me.” In the interview, it’s also reported that Neff and Carlson see “eye to eye on most issues.”
Fox News and Carlson respond
According to the CNN report, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace released an internal memo to denounce the “horrific racist, misogynistic and homophobic behavior” of Neff. They claimed to have never known about Neff’s posts on the forum until the report came out and said actions such as Neff’s “will not be tolerated at any time in any part of our work force.”
On Monday, Carlson addressed the controversy, saying Neff was “horrified by the story, and he was ashamed.” Carlson referred to Neff simply as a “writer on this show,” though CNN reported that Neff was the head writer and that both Neff and Carlson have otherwise publicly acknowledged Neff’s substantial role in the show’s writing.
The host, whose conservative talk show is the highest rated in the country, said Neff’s anonymous comments were “wrong” and that his show “does not endorse those words.” Carlson claimed Neff has “paid a very heavy price” for his comments, though did not specify the bigoted nature of those comments.
Carlson then addressed “the ghouls now beating their chests in triumph at the destruction of a young man.” He did not say who those “ghouls” were, but said, “Self-righteousness also has its costs.” He added, “When we pose as blameless in order to hurt other people, we are committing the gravest sin of all.”
At the close of Monday’s show, Carlson announced that he was taking a preplanned vacation starting the next day and he expected to be back the following Monday.
Carlson’s history of racist comments
In March 2019, NowThis News, a left wing news organization, spliced together audio released by Media Matters from Carlson’s radio appearances in 2006 to 2009. In the various clips, Carlson can be heard making multiple derogatory comments based on race. He acknowledged that his views would get him labeled a bigot, but said he’s OK with that.
“Iraq is a crappy place, filled with a bunch of, you know, semiliterate primitive monkeys,” he can be heard saying in one clip. In another, he claims that the Congressional Black Caucus “exists to blame the white man for everything.”
Carlson also said that President Barack Obama would not have left Illinois if he were white and criticized Michelle Obama for having “a major chip on her shoulder.”
Carlson also distinguishes between which immigrants he approves of, saying he wants ones that are “hot or smart.” He questions if the immigrants who “pick lettuce” will “build a stronger country.”
As recently as last week, Carlson was accused of racial nativism for his attacks on Senator Tammy Duckworth, who is Thai American, and Representative Ilhan Omar, who is a Somali immigrant.
Tucker Carlson for president?
Despite Carlson’s documented racist comments, he has not only amassed a loyal following on Fox News, but there has also been talk that he could run for president in 2024 as a Republican. His history of airing racial grievances and saying that white supremacy is a “hoax” has led many to speculate that he could be the “heir apparent” to Trump.
After Carlson made his controversial comments about white supremacy in August 2019, he faced a backlash from both Republicans and Democrats.
Similar to Monday’s show, in the wake of the “hoax” controversy, Carlson suddenly announced he was going on vacation. Fox News claimed the break was preplanned.
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