An explosive new report from Media Matters for America has unearthed a trove of recordings of Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s calls into shock jock Bubba The Love Sponge’s radio show in which Carlson makes repugnant remarks about women, underage marriage, and statutory rape.
Carlson called into the radio show for about an hour a week from 2006 to 2011 (he joined Fox News as contributor in 2009). In the recordings obtained by Media Matters, Carlson defends cult leader and child abuser Warren Jeffs, calls Britney Spears and Paris Hilton “the biggest white whores in America,” questions whether sex workers can really be raped, and describes women in general as “extremely primitive.”
Anyone who has watched a few minutes of Carlson’s Fox News program knows he’s a scumbag racist who leans toward white nationalism. But even to those of us numbed to Carlson’s awfulness, these recordings are still breathtaking.
In this 2009 recording, Carlson says that Jeffs, who has been accused of raping girls as young as eight, as well as facilitating underage marriages, is disliked by the public because he’s “weird.”
“The rapist, in this case, has made a lifelong commitment to live and take care of the person, so it is a little different,” Carlson says, referring to underage marriage.
On his own show, Carlson has expressed concern about the wellbeing of underage girls who he says could be raped by Muslim immigrants. In 2017, he accused British Prime Minister Theresa May of “doing nothing to counter terrorism; stop radicalization; protect citizens from terrorism; or protect ‘thousands of underage girls’ from rape and abuse.”
In another 2009 broadcast obtained by MMFA, Bubba The Love Sponge warns Carlson that boarding school might turn his daughter, who was 14 at the time, into a lesbian.
“Let me just give you an example, OK? When she’s laying her head in your bed at night, you know who the hell’s in her bedroom and what they’re doing. Nobody, just her. Well, when she’s in a dormitory-type setting and these little girls start experiment around, next thing you know, you know, you got a lesbian on your hands,” The Love Sponge says.
Carlson rejects this idea several times. But The Love Sponge keeps going, describing the fictional scenario in the dorm room.
“I don’t got a PSP to play, I ain’t got nothing going on, I ain’t got my mom and dad here telling me that they love me and tuck me in bed. So, here’s Trixie, she wants to explore my body a little bit, so hey, let’s go crazy,” he says.
“If it weren’t my daughter I would love that scenario,” Carlson responds.
In the radio broadcasts, Carlson seemed fixated on topics related to underage sex. In a 2006 call, he said that a female teacher who raped a 13 year old boy was “taking the pressure off” female classmates.
“[My] point is that teachers like this, not necessarily this one in particular, but they are doing a service to all 13-year-old girls by taking the pressure off,” he said.
Many of the Carlson recordings showcase regular old misogyny. At one point, he referred to his then-colleague at NBC News, Contessa Brewer, as “saucy and cute.” He called Martha Stewart’s daughter, Alexis, “cunty,” and said he wanted to “give her the spanking she so desperately needs.” He called Ariana Huffington a “pig,” and suggested he’d like to have sex with Sarah Palin.
In 2006, while discussing a rape accusation brought by a sex worker, Carlson questioned whether sex workers could be assaulted like other women:
And I said this the other day and there was all this outrage and, “How could you say that,” but I mean, this woman sells sex for a living. OK? I’m not attacking that — I’m merely noting it. She sells sex for a living. If she’s accusing other people of nonconsensual sex, it’s a little more complicated than if some, you know, housewife claims she was pulled off the street and raped. It’s just not the same thing. It’s harder to determine what’s consensual and what’s not. And to act like, you know, these guys absolutely did it because she’s this oppressed stripper, pardon me, adult dancer or exotic dancer, whatever the hell they’re calling her, is ridiculous. I mean, these kids, maybe they did do something wrong, I don’t know. But, I mean, you got to give them the benefit of the doubt.
But Carlson’s misogyny is perhaps most evident in a 2007 comment about women’s nature.
“I mean, I love women, but they’re extremely primitive, they’re basic, they’re not that hard to understand,” Carlson said. “And one of the things they hate more than anything is weakness in a man.”
There’s a lot more where that came from—be sure to check out the entire post over at MMFA.
We have reached out to Fox News, Bubba The Love Sponge, and MMFA for comment and will update this post if we receive a response.
Update, 10:35 p.m.:
In an email to Splinter, Media Matters’s Communications Director Laura Keiter wrote that the recordings are “confirmation” that Carlson’s “worldview is as reprehensible as it has long seemed.”
I want to be clear that the intention in releasing this now is not some ‘gotcha’ game.’ The purpose is to offer some further insight into his current misogynistic and bigoted commentary on Fox News by offering a look a the kinds of things he was saying when he was thought he was among like-minded audiences.
This is not one random off-hand comment that Carlson said decades ago. Instead, we’re highlighting patterns. This first one focuses on misogyny mostly and the pattern in the clips echoes the misogyny on his current show.
When public figures are speaking to like-minded groups and the spotlight isn’t on them, they can sometimes reveal truths about themselves and their worldview. For example, Mitt Romney’s infamous 47% comments were at a private fundraiser; or, Fox News’ Washington bureau managing editor Bill Sammon bragging to a private group of conservatives that he intentionally spreading misinformation about Barack Obama and marxism.
This same principle applies here. This is the real Tucker Carlson.
Carlson himself has now made a statement in response to the reporting, in which he called his comments “naughty.” The statement did not include an apology.
Update, 10:50 p.m.:
Keiter has confirmed to Splinter that Media Matters has recordings of Carlson speaking about other subjects. Those recordings will be released shortly. “[There’s] more, stay tuned!” she wrote.
Update, 3/11/19, 12:07 a.m.:
Our boy Donj has weighed in.