Controversial Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday night addressed the recent resignation of his top writer, Blake Neff, after Neff was revealed by CNN to have spent years posting graphic racist and misogynist material anonymously to a message board.
Carlson did not apologize for the situation, but did tell viewers that he was going to be taking a “pre-planned” vacation for four days “trout fishing.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Carlson Said Neff’s Words Had ‘No Connection’ to His Show, Called Neff’s Critics ‘Ghouls’ & Announced He Was Going on a Long-Planned ‘Trout Fishing’ Vacation
After CNN’s Oliver Darcy published an investigative report on Friday detailing Neff’s long history of abusive, racist, homophobic and misogynist posts on the forum AutoAdmit, Neff resigned after four years at Fox News.
At the end of Monday night’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, Carlson briefly addressed Neff’s resignation, although he struck a tone more combative than contrite. Carlson noted that Neff was “horrified by the story, and he was ashamed,” according to a video provided by Fox News.
“What Blake wrote anonymously was wrong,” Carlson said. “We don’t endorse those words. They have no connection to this show.”
Darcy, in his report however, noted that on several occasions, Neff’s words from the message board did make it onto Carlson’s programs. One such “Easter egg,” as Darcy called it, was when Carlson appeared to stumble over the phrase “sweet treats of scholarship” during a monologue. The phrase was also used by Neff on the message board, according to CNN, something Neff than boasted about in a post.
Carlson did not characterize Neff’s words as racist. Instead, he said, “It is wrong to attack people for qualities they cannot control.”
The host also noted that Neff had fallen “short” of the show’s standards and “paid a very heavy price for it.” Carlson concluded, however, with a vaguely threatening message for journalists who expose people like Neff — people he said were “ghouls now beating their chests in triumph at the destruction of a young man.”
“When we pretend we are holy, we are lying,” he said. “When we pose as blameless in order to hurt other people, we are committing the gravest sin of all. And we will be punished for it. There’s no question.”
Carlson added that he would be taking a vacation to go trout-fishing. “Long planned, this is one of those years where if you don’t get it in now, you are probably not going to,” he said. “If something dramatic happens, of course, we’ll be back.”
A Fox spokesperson confirmed to Heavy that Carlson would be taking a “pre-planned trout fishing vacation beginning [Tuesday] and will be back on Monday.”
Right Wing Watch Noted a Number of Prominent White Nationalists & Far-Right Figures Lambasting Fox & Carlson for Not Standing Up for Neff
Tucker Carlson's lead writer resigned after CNN revealed he expressed racist beliefs online under a pseudonym.
Reactions across the far-right make clear that the exit is being widely interpreted as a blow to the cause.https://t.co/kK285eFn1g
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) July 13, 2020
Progressive advocacy organization People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch on Monday published a roundup of far-right and white nationalist figures decrying Neff’s resignation.
Jason Kessler, an organizer of the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, lamented Fox executives making “Tucker Carlson bend the knee” in a Tweet, RWW reported. Kessler added that Carlson had been “flying too close to the sun for a long time now.”
This is not good for my career, but Blake Neff is responsible for some of the most beautiful monologues that ever aired on your network, helping create the most successful cable personality ever. And you’re just gonna can him? You guys are idiots.
— Jon Miller (@MillerStream) July 12, 2020
Jon Miller, a commentator on far-right former Fox host Glenn Beck’s The Blaze and Carlson’s Daily Caller, also said Neff was “responsible for some of the most beautiful monologues that ever aired on your network, helping create the most successful cable personality ever.”
“And you’re just gonna can him?” he added. “You guys are idiots.”
Carlson is the Latest Fox Host to Take an Allegedly ‘Planned’ Vacation Immediately After a Scandal Rocks Their Show
Carlson is far from the first Fox News host to go on a “pre-planned” vacation, shortly after their programs or conduct became the subject of controversy.
Sean Hannity, a longtime conservative Fox host whose program airs after Carlson’s, came under fire in 2017 for often pushing the discredited conspiracy theory suggesting that former Democratic National Committee employee Seth Rich was responsible for the leaks of DNC emails to Wikileaks and was murdered in retribution. Hannity lost advertisers after Rich’s family pushed back on the network for airing the conspiracy theory and abruptly took the greater part of a week off, NPR reported.
Hannity did, however, return, as Fox promised in a statement: “Like the rest of the country, Sean Hannity is taking a vacation for Memorial Day weekend and will be back on Tuesday,” Fox said, according to the NPR report. “Those who suggest otherwise are going to look foolish.”
Former Fox News ratings powerhouse Bill O’Reilly was fired by Fox after the New York Times revealed that he had settled $13 million worth of sexual harassment lawsuits with accusers. Days after the story ran, O’Reilly’s show lost more than half its advertisers, the Times reported.
O’Reilly then announced that he would take a “pre-planned” vacation and return in roughly two weeks; Fox announced days later, however, that O’Reilly had been fired, NBC reported.
A Fox spokesperson told Heavy that Carlson would return from his vacation on July 20.