Fox News’s Tucker Carlson condemned racially charged posts his staff member made and announced a “long-planned vacation” on Monday night.
Carlson, the most popular cable news host in America, talked about posts made by Blake Neff, a writer for “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Neff, using a pseudonym, posted a number of racist remarks on a forum in the past several years. After stories linking him to the post were published last week, he resigned.
“We want to make abundantly clear that Fox News Media strongly condemns this horrific racist, misogynistic, and homophobic behavior,” Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace said in a memo to staffers published by news outlets.
“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 work force.”
Carlson told viewers that Neff was posting 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,” he said.
“What Blake wrote anonymously was wrong. We don’t endorse those words. They have no connection to the show,” he added. “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. We often say that because we mean it. We’ll continue to defend that principle—often alone among national news programs—because it is essential. Nothing is more important.”
Neff “fell short of that standard and he has paid a very high price for it,” Carlson said.
It was the first time Carlson addressed the matter publicly.
He hosts a show every weekday night.
Neff previously worked for The Daily Caller, a news outlet that Carlson co-founded. He recently told the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine that he was writing the first draft of anything Carlson reads off the teleprompter.
“We’re very aware that we do have that power to sway the conversation, so we try to use it responsibly,” Neff said. “Our show is controversial—that’s just objective—but I don’t believe that we’re stoking conflict. When people accuse us of that, they’re allowing actual firebrands to stir them up.”
Carlson later turned to critics who took glee in Neff’s downfall.
“We should also point out to the ghouls now beating their chests and triumph of the destruction of a young man, that self-righteousness also has its costs,” he said.
“We are all human. When we pretend 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 said he was taking a vacation soon to go trout fishing, insisting the trip was “long-planned.”
“This is one of those years where if you don’t get it in now, you’re probably not going to do if something dramatic happens, of course. We’ll be back,” he said.