Fox News host Tucker Carlson made sexually explicit, disparaging comments about a Miss Teen USA contestant on a radio show in 2007, according to new audio released by liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America. Carlson was the host of his own nightly MSNBC program at the time.
Carlson mocked Miss South Carolina Teen USA, Caitlin Upton, for a widely-ridiculed answer she gave during the pageant, and suggested he’d like to have sex with the teen.
“I gotta be honest, I thought she was appealing … she’s so dumb,” Carlson said during the clip of the radio program “The Bubba the Love Sponge Show,” which was first published by NowThis News. “She’s vulnerable. She’s like a wounded gazelle, separated from the herd.”
Carlson then speculated that the pageant host, then 35-year-old actor Mario Lopez, likely had sex with the teen. Carlson added that wouldn’t pose a legal problem for Lopez because he “gets a pass.”
Carlson then joked that the teen would “probably be a pretty good wife” and that he “was thinking about tapping my foot next to her stall” — an apparent reference to Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig’s August 2007 arrest for soliciting sex in an airport bathroom.
“I mean if you had a wife that dumb, would it be good or bad?” he asked the show’s hosts. They responded, “good.”
Several years later, Upton revealed that she contemplated committing suicide amid the widespread scrutiny she faced online and in the media.
The audio is the third set of recordings Media Matters has released this week of Carlson’s comments on the Tampa-based “shock jock” radio show, which he regularly called into between 2006 and 2011.
The other clips feature disparaging comments Carlson made about women, immigrants, Iraqis, and people of color — among other targets.
“Iraq is a crappy place filled with a bunch of, you know, semi-literate primitive monkeys — that’s why it wasn’t worth invading,” Carlson said in a 2008 clip. “I’m not defending the war in any way, but I just have zero sympathy for them or their culture. A culture where people just don’t use toilet paper or forks … they can just shut the f–k up and obey.”
Carlson also called Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan “unattractive,” called women “primitive,” and defended convicted child sexual abuser Warren Jeffs.
Read more: A history of the times Fox News host Tucker Carlson has been embroiled in controversies
Carlson was hired by Fox in 2009 and given his own show in 2016. Fox did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Carlson refused to apologize for his previous comments on Monday, arguing the audio releases are an attack on free speech.
“Media Matters caught me saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago,” Carlson said in a statement. “Rather than express the usual ritual contrition, how about this: I’m on television every weeknight live for an hour. If you want to know what I think, you can watch. Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why.”
He said that Fox was standing behind him.
Read more: At least 34 advertisers have stopped advertising on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show in recent months after the host’s controversial comments. Here’s the list.
“We’ve always apologized when we’re wrong, and we’ll continue to do that. But we will never bow to the mob, ever,” Carlson said during his Monday night show. “No matter what.”
Carlson has a long history of making inflammatory remarks widely believed to be racist and anti-immigrant on his prime time nightly Fox program.
In the past few months, more than 30 companies have stopped airing advertisements during Carlson’s show in response to other controversies.
Miss Teen USA
Fox News Channel