Tucker Carlson says his former head writer 'paid a heavy price' for racist internet posts
On Monday’s edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the popular Fox News host addressed the resignation of his show’s head writer, who was identified on Friday as the author of a years-long series of racist, sexist and homophobic internet posts under a pseudonym.
Carlson acknowledged the posts were “wrong,” but did not offer an apology on behalf of the show or the network, saying his longtime associate had “paid a very heavy price” in losing his job.
“Over the weekend you may have seen stories about a writer on this show called Blake Neff,” Carlson told his audience. “For years, since he was in college, Blake posted anonymously on an internet message board for law school students. On Friday, many of those posts became public. Blake was horrified by the story and he was ashamed. Friday afternoon he resigned from his job.”
Carlson’s brief remarks came near the end of his hour-long program.
“We want to say a couple of things about this. First, what Blake wrote anonymously was wrong. We don’t endorse those words,” Carlson said. “They have no connection to the show. It is wrong to attack people for qualities they cannot control. In this country, we judge people for what they do, not for how they were born.”
But Carlson, who spent the broadcast going after Democratic politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, repeating his assertion that there is no evidence that wearing a mask helps slow the spread of COVID-19 and referring to Black Lives Matter protesters as “the mob,” also took aim at commentators who he said were celebrating Neff losing his job.
“Blake fell short of that standard and he has paid a very heavy price for it. But we should also point out to the ghouls now beating their chests in triumph at the destruction of a young man that self-righteousness also has its costs,” Carlson said. “We are all human and when we pretend we are holy, we are lying.”
“We want to make abundantly clear that Fox News Media strongly condemns this horrific racist, misogynistic and homophobic behavior,” Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace said in a written statement released Sunday. “Neff’s abhorrent conduct on this forum was never divulged to the show or the network until Friday, at which point we swiftly accepted his resignation. Make no mistake, actions such as his cannot and will not be tolerated at any time in any part of our workforce.”
The timing of the revelations about Neff, who had worked for Fox News for four years, after a stint at the conservative opinion website Daily Caller, co-founded by Carlson in 2010, comes as growing number of advertisers have joined a boycott of Carlson’s program. Companies like Papa John’s Pizza, T-Mobile and Disney have all pulled ads from the show in response remarks the host made in early June about the Black Lives Matter movement.
Monday’s show had four commercials for a mail-order company selling pillows and bedding, and for an inspirational book by the company’s founder.
“This may be a lot of things, this moment we’re living through, but it is definitely not about Black lives,” Carlson said during a broadcast last month. “Remember that when they come for you, and at this rate, they will.”
But Carlson has lost advertisers before. In 2018, during a segment in which he railed against immigration to the U.S., the host complained, “We have a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor, they tell us, even if it makes our own country poorer, and dirtier and more divided.”
Carlson retains his audience, however, one that includes President Trump. At the end of Monday’s show, Carlson announced that he would be going on vacation — trout fishing — for the remainder of the week.
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