Tucker Carlson explains why he has avoided covering sexual harassment stories about FOX News

  • Tucker Carlson has covered sexual harassment allegations about Democrats while remaining largely silent about accusations against his own former colleagues.
  • Many television personalities have found themselves forced to uncomfortably answer for former colleagues. 


Fox News host Tucker Carlson says he has largely avoided covering sexual harassment allegations against his former Fox News colleagues because he did not have anything to add. 

In an interview after his appearance at Business Insider's IGNITION conference last week, Carlson explained why he has mostly avoided covering allegations against former figures at Fox News like the late CEO Roger Ailes, host Eric Bolling, and anchor Bill O'Reilly. By comparison, he has devoted extensive time to covering allegations against figures like former NBC host Matt Lauer, entertainment mogul Harvey Weinstein, and Sen. Al Franken.

"It's been thoroughly covered, those aren't secret stories," Carlson said of stories about Fox News. "I can say with honesty I do not know any details that are not in the papers, and those are scant. So I don't know what to add."

But Carlson told Business Insider that believing sexual harassment victims fits a theme of his show: championing total free speech.

See photos of Tucker Carlson:

29 PHOTOS
Tucker Carlson through the years
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Tucker Carlson through the years
Tucker Carlson of the Weekly Standard during a CNN National Town Meeting on the Media discussing coverage of the White House sex scandal, Arlington, Virginia, January 28, 1998. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
Tucker Carlson at The Creative Coalitions' 'Freedon of the Press During Wartime' panel discussion at Chadwick Restaurant in Beverly Hills, Ca. Thursday, June 20, 2002. Photo by Kevin Winter/ImageDirect
Carl Bernstein, William Baldwin, Charles Koones, Tucker Carlson, Michael Isikoff and Peter Bart at The Creative Coalitions' 'Freedon of the Press During Wartime' panel discussion at Chadwick Restaurant in Beverly Hills, Ca. Thursday, June 20, 2002. Photo by Kevin Winter/ImageDirect
WASHINGTON - JUNE 4: (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER OUT)(L-R) U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, an unidentified member of his security detail, Democratic presidential candidate Reverend Al Sharpton, and CNN Crossfire host Tucker Carlson attend a CNN pre-party for the White House Radio and TV Correspondents Association annual dinner June 4, 2003 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Stefan Zaklin/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 15: Politicians Partisans and Parasites (Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images)
Tucker Carlson of Crossfire (Photo by Linda Spillers/WireImage for Bragman Nyman Cafarelli)
CENTURY CITY, CA - JULY 8: Talk show host Tucker Carlson attends the Television Critics Association Press Tour at the Westin Century Plaza Hotel on July 8, 2004 in Century City, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images).
UNITED STATES - JULY 27: CNN's Tucker Carlson, makes a phone call in a hallway in the Fleet Center, on the night Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., was nominated as the vice presidential candidate,at Democratic National Convention 2004, in Boston. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - AUGUST 31: (L-R) Producer Lawrence O'Donnell, moderator Tucker Carlson and Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas take part in an Art$, Education and the 21st Century Economy panel discussion at Carolines August 31, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)
Tucker Carlson (Photo by Lawrence Lucier/FilmMagic)
Tucker Carlson and Patricia Duff during The 2005 Do Something BRICK Awards - Inside Arrivals at Capitale in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Robin Platzer/FilmMagic)
WASHINGTON - APRIL 29: (U.S. TABS & HOLLYWOOD REPORTER OUT) Tucker Carlson and Christopher Buckley attend the Creative Coalition and The Atlantic Media Company reception April 29, 2006 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Nancy Ostertag/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 18: DANCING WITH THE STARS - Tucker Carlson, (right) MSNBC news anchor -- and often controversial -- conservative political TV pundit and columnist, will be partnered with professional dancer Elena Grinenko (left), who makes her series debut this season on ABC Television Network's 'Dancing with the Stars.' (Photo by James Sorensen/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 01: DANCING WITH THE STARS - Tucker Carlson, MSNBC news anchor -- and often controversial -- conservative political TV pundit and columnist, rehearses partnered with professional dancer Elena Grinenko, who makes her series debut this season on ABC Television Network's 'Dancing with the Stars.' (Photo by Talley Lach/ABC via Getty Images)
Tucker Carlson & Harry Hamlin (Photo by Ron Wolfson/WireImage for TMG (The Marketing Group))
Nick Kosovich, Vivica A. Fox, Tucker Carlson & Rashel Pouri (Photo by Ron Wolfson/WireImage for TMG (The Marketing Group))
TV Personality Tucker Carlson at the Field & Stream Magazine's Heroes of Conservation Awards Gala September 20, 2007 at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. (Photo by Mark Von Holden/WireImage)
WASHINGTON - APRIL 26: Tucker Carlson arrives for an after-party hosted by Bloomberg following the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner on April 26, 2008 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 1: Tucker Carlson, Ariana Huffington, guest, guest and guest pose for a photo September 1, 2008 at the Nicollet Island Inn in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Scott A. Schneider/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 02: Tucker Carlson, a correspondent for General Electric Co.'s MSNBC unit, speaks during Rally for the Republic, an event in support of Ron Paul, a Republican representative from Texas who lost to Senator John McCain of Arizona in winning the Republican presidential nomination, at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2008. The protest convention was held on day two of the Republican National Convention (RNC), which took place in nearby St. Paul. (Photo by Keith Bedford/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 7: Tucker Carlson, a conservative pundit, at the office of the new website, the Daily Caller, on January 6, 2010, in Washington, DC. The site, at which Carlson is the editor-in-cheif, has been branded as a 'conservative Huffington Post.' (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 09: Tucker Carlson of CNN, checks his messages on North Capitol Street, NW, Feb. 09, 2010. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - The Huffington PostÃs Arianna Huffington and Fox News Contributor Tucker Carlson join the ÃMorning Mixà to discuss current events on 'Good Morning America,' 9.9.10, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images) TUCKER CARLSON, ARIANNA HUFFINGTON
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 4: FOX News meteorologist Rick Reichmuth (L) and FOX & Friends Weekend co-host Tucker Carlson attend 'FOX & Friends Christmas Special' 2013 at FOX Studios on December 4, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: (L-R) 'FOX & Friends' co-hosts Steve Doocy as Captain America, Kimberly Guilfoyle as Wonder Woman, Tucker Carlson as The Incredible Hulk and Maria Molina as Bat Girl attend 'FOX & Friends'' 2014 Halloween Celebration at FOX Plaza on October 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 02: (L-R) Tucker Carlson, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, actress Bella Thorne and Brian Kilmeade pose onstage during 'Fox & Friends' at FOX Studios on April 2, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 02: (L-R) Tucker Carlson, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade appear on a cooking segment of 'Fox & Friends' at FOX Studios on June 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 01: Musician Trace Adkins (2nd L) talks with co-hosts Tucker Carlson (L), Clayton Morris (2nd R) and Ainsley Earhard during 'FOX & Friends' All American Concert Series outside of FOX Studios on July 1, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
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"I've never sexually harassed anybody, obviously, but self-righteousness is a really unattractive quality in people, and it tends to flower on television," Carlson said." And sometimes I do it, and I always regret it. So I really try to remember these are people, and all people with power tend to abuse their power, sexually, financially, in any context."

He added: "But you ought to be able to tell the truth without being punished. ... People who haven't done anything wrong are still worried and nervous, and if we can't say what we think, we've lost something."

Carlson is far from alone in the uncomfortable task of being forced to answer for coworkers and bosses accused of harassment. Many television stars have found themselves in the uncomfortable position of reporting on accusations against figures from their own networks.

"Today" cohost Savannah Guthrie was visibly shaken when she reported that Lauer was fired on Wednesday over allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior. The hosts of "CBS This Morning," meanwhile, condemned sexual harassment following allegations against former host Charlie Rose, acknowledging that they were still grappling with how to speak about the allegations. 

"I've held him in such high regard," host Gayle King said on Tuesday. "And I'm really struggling, because how do you ... what do you say when someone that you deeply care about has done something that is so horrible? How do you wrap your brain around that? I'm really grappling with that."

Women who have left FOX News:

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Women who have left Fox News
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Women who have left Fox News

Megan Kelly

(Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images) MEGYN KELLY

Gretchen Carlson

(Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Variety)

Greta van Susteren

(Photo by: William B. Plowman/MSNBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)

Andrea Tantaros

(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Laurie Dhue

(Photo by D Dipasupil/WireImage)

Elisabeth Hasselbeck 

(Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)

Alisyn Camerota 

(Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

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Fox Business Network host Melissa Francis, appearing on Carlson's show last week, recalled the day after O'Reilly was fired.

"While you're throwing stones at us and saying, 'Is this part of the Fox culture? What does it have to do with what's going on over here?' I think you know that your network is full of predators as well, as are all of them," Francis recalled thinking. "These people exist at every single network, and I could tell you who they are, and I bet you know who they are."  

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