Tucker Carlson

This content was last updated Nov. 15, 2023, 10:22 p.m. UTC

Tucker Carlson is an American conservative political commentator and media personality. He is best known for hosting Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News from November of 2016 until its cancellation in April of 2023.

Prior to 2020, Carlson was frequently accused of espousing racist viewpoints, anti-feminism and misogyny, and anti-Islamic viewpoints. In 2020, he began more aggressively promoting anti-transgender talking points and more frequently platforming anti-transgender professionals and personalities. Before Tucker Carlson Tonight’s cancellation in 2023, anti-transgender rhetoric was a central focus of Carlson’s show.

Gender affirming care is the sexual mutilation of children ... Boston Children's Hospital alone performed 65 double mastectomies on children between 2017 and 2020 ... They were not medically necessary, they were in response to trans ideology ... To be clear, Boston Children's Hospital is not ashamed of committing sexual mutilation of children, they brag about it on YouTube ... Why is no one in jail for this?

Tucker Carlson, 18 August 2022

Education and Work

Carlson is the adopted son of Patricia Swanson, heiress of Swanson Enterprises.

Carlson graduated from Trinity College in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in history. In his college yearbook, Carlson described himself as a member of the “Dan White Society” and the “Jesse Helms Foundation.” Dan White was the assassin of San Francisco city planner Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected in the state of California. Jesse Helms was a vitriolically anti-LGBTQ+ politician.

Carlson began his career in journalism as a fact-checker for Policy Review, then a publication of the conservative anti-LGBTQ+ think tank The Heritage Foundation. He would go on to write for outlets such as New York magazine, Reader’s Digest, and The New York Times before transitioning away from print media.

Starting in 2001, Carlson co-hosted a CNN political commentary show, Crossfire, alongside political commentator Paul Begala. The show was canceled in 2005. Carlson went on to work as the editor-in-chief of right-wing news and opinion website The Daily Caller and as a contributor at Fox News.

Tucker Carlson Tonight

Carlson began hosting Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News in November of 2016. By October of 2018, the program was the second highest-rated cable news show in prime time. By 2020, it was the most watched news show on Fox.

Fox News’s history of anti-transgender rhetoric began before Carlson joined the network, but would later be amplified by his program. In February of 2017, Carlson invited transgender lawyer Jillian Weiss onto his show to discuss then president Donald Trump’s rollback of Title IX protection for transgender students. He suggested that transgender people were “faking” their identities.

In July of 2017, Carlson hosted then president of the anti-transgender organization, American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds), Michelle Cretella on Tucker Carlson Tonight, where she explicitly decried gender-affirming care to be child abuse.

In August of 2018, Carlson spent a segment attacking a then Vermont Democratic gubernatorial candidate and transgender woman Christine Hallquist, suggesting that she may have won her party primary because of “transgender privilege.”

In February of 2019, Carlson spoke to Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) member Julia Beck on his show, where she described transgender people as “a threat” to cisgender women. Beck had recently appeared at a panel hosted by The Heritage Foundation. By June of that year, Tucker Carlson Tonight had devoted fourteen segments to transgender athletes since it first began airing. He described transgender women competing in sports as “biological men [stealing] athletic opportunities from girls.”

In December of 2020, Carlson devoted a segment of his show to attacking HBO transgender documentary Transhood and its subjects, transgender children. He characterized gender-affirming transgender care as “a crime,” and “grotesque.”

Fox News expanded its anti-transgender news coverage in 2021, airing 86 separate segments about transgender people by March of that year. In April, Carlson described transgender people as a “challenge to the perpetuation of the [human] species.” In October, Carlson attacked Dr. Rachel Levine, a transgender woman who had recently been appointed assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and made the nation’s first openly transgender four-star officer.

In December of 2022, Carlson platformed the owner of anti-transgender hate account Libs of TikTok, Chaya Raichik, who had been waging a targeted campaign against children’s hospitals that provided transitional care to transgender patients. She described the LGBTQ+ community as “a cult,” and perpetuated the false belief that medical professionals were providing gender-affirming surgeries to minors.

Earlier that year, Carlson claimed that one of these hospitals, Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., was “castrating young people, minors for no legitimate purpose whatsoever.” The night that Carlson’s interview with Raichik aired, Boston Children’s Hospital received a bomb threat.

Carlson has also platformed conservative podcaster and anti-transgender activist Matt Walsh. After Walsh alleged that Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center opened their gender-affirming care clinic for financial gain, he appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight to accuse them of “performing double mastectomies” and “chemically castrating” children.

On April 24th of 2023, Tucker Carlson Tonight was abruptly cancelled. Fox News announced that they and Carlson had “parted ways,” and that his show the prior Friday would be his last. Carlson suggested, when announcing that he would continue to produce news content on Twitter, that he had been fired for trying to tell the “fullest” truth. In response, Fox News issued a cease and desist to Carlson, alleging that he would be violating a contract in which the media group continued to pay him for exclusive rights to his content until December of 2024.

Career Post Fox

After the cancellation of his show on Fox News Carlson began posting videos representing a new show to the social media platform Twitter (also later known as X). Viewership of that show started strong but then sharply declined, according to Forbes. Alleging the show violated their agreement with Carlson, Fox News sent a letter demanding that he stop posting it on Twitter according to a New York Times story on June 12. As of August 14 Carlson was continuing to post episodes of the new show.

On June 11, Carlson posted an interview with Andrew Tate, and influencer who was under house arrest in Romania facing charges of rape and sex-trafficking at the time of the interview. The interview featured about 15 minutes of Carlson encouraging Tate to share his anti-trans views.

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