NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News’ Tucker Carlson said Monday that his former writer who posted racist comments online was wrong but criticized “ghouls now beating their chests in triumph” after his staffer’s resignation.
“When we pose as blameless in order to hurt other people, we are committing the gravest sin of all,” the Fox host said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Carlson, who said the online commentary by Blake Neff had no connection to his show, said he would be taking the rest of the week off to go trout fishing.
Neff resigned Friday after CNN reported that he used the pseudonym CharlesXII to post bigoted remarks about Black and Asian people on the online forum AutoAdmit. He also repeatedly mocked a woman about her dating life.
Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace said Saturday in a memo to staff that the company “strongly condemns this horrific racist, misogynistic and homophobic behavior.”
Neff began working on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” in January 2017 and was known as Carlson’s top writer. Neff previously worked as a reporter for the conservative news outlet The Daily Caller, which Carlson co-founded.
The Dartmouth College graduate was recently written about in the college’s alumni magazine, saying about Carlson that “anything he’s reading off the TelePrompter, the first draft was written by me.” He said he and Carlson “see eye-to-eye on most issues.”
Carlson addressed the story toward the end of his show Monday, noting that Neff was horrified and ashamed by the story.
“What Blake wrote anonymously was wrong,” Carlson said. “We don’t endorse those words. 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.”
He added, though, that “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.
“We are all human,” Carlson said. “When we pretend that we are holy, we are lying. 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 joined Fox’s prime-time lineup in 2016 and has made several controversial comments. He has said immigration makes the country dirtier and, following a mass shooting in 2019 by a man who targeted Latinos, said white supremacy was “not a real problem” in America.
He has been sharply critical of the Black Lives Matter movement, saying “they flood the street with angry young people who break things and they hurt anyone who gets in their way.”
Last week, he took on Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat who lost two legs in Iraq, calling her a “deeply silly and unimpressive person.”
On many nights lately, he’s been the most popular host on cable news, routinely drawing more than 4 million viewers a night, and he has had one of the top-rated shows in all of television.
Yet he’s seen an exodus of prominent national advertisers. Monday’s show featured three ads from Fox fan Mark Lindell and his MyPillow.com site, as well as ads touting Bible bedtime stories, medicine to cure toe fungus and a website selling coronavirus masks.