The Anti-Defamation League on Friday called for the resignation of Fox News host Tucker Carlson in the wake of comments he made that appeared to defend the white supremacist “replacement theory” — a far-right extension of a colonialist theory that white people around the world are being replaced by nonwhite people.
In a segment that aired on Thursday night, Carlson argued that the Democratic Party was “trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters, from the third world.” Carlson added that every time “they import a new voter,” he and other Americans “become disenfranchised as a current voter.”
Carlson appeared to anticipate the backlash.
“Everyone wants to make a racial issue out of it, ‘Ooh, the white replacement theory.’” Carlson said, insisting that he wasn’t parroting the notion. “No, no no. This is a voting rights question. I have less political power because they are importing a brand-new electorate. Why should I sit back and take that?”
Carlson’s comments came in the context of a conversation about how the government treats migrants who cross the southern border.
In an open letter published Friday, ADL National Director and CEO Jonathan Greenblatt condemned Carlson’s commentary, calling it “not just a dog whistle to racists — it was a bullhorn.”
“His anti-immigrant rhetoric has embraced subtle appeals to racism and, at times more blatantly, has put him on the same side as white supremacists,” Greenblatt argued in the letter addressed to Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott.
“This is not legitimate political discourse,” the letter read. “It is dangerous, race-baiting, extreme rhetoric. And yet, unfortunately, it is the culmination of a pattern of increasingly divisive rhetoric used by Carlson over the past years.”
Greenblatt cited a lengthy list of examples of Carlson pushing similar rhetoric, including in 2019, days after the deadly El Paso shooting at the hands of an avowed white supremacist, Carlson suggested that white supremacy in America “was not a real problem.” In 2018, Carlson suggested that migrants are unsanitary, asserting that immigration from developing countries “makes our own country poor and dirtier and more divided.” The replacement theory was also on display in 2017, when white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting “Jews will not replace us.”
“It was shocking to hear this kind of open-ended endorsement of white supremacist ideology from an anchor and commentator on your network,” Greenblatt wrote. He continued that the ADL believes in “giving people a chance to redeem themselves,” but given Carlson’s long record of race-baiting “we believe it’s time for [him] to go.”
A representative for Fox News declined to comment on Friday, according to the New York Times, and instead referenced Carlson’s comments that said the matter was a voting rights question.
According to CNN, the ADL has had successes with campaigns like these in the past. Last year, Facebook expanded its hate speech policy to include Holocaust denial after the ADL published an investigation that showed numerous instances of conspiratorial anti-Semitism on the platform that violated the company’s policies of hate speech.
Carlson’s remarks were covered by a number of media outlets including New York Magazine, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. Writer Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine said Carlson’s Thursday night commentary “crossed an important new threshold.”
Carlson is the highest-rated host on Fox News, which reportedly pays him about $10 million a year.
.@TuckerCarlson: “replacement theory” is a white supremacist tenet that the white race is in danger by a rising tide of non-whites.— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) April 9, 2021
It is antisemitic, racist and toxic. It has informed the ideology of mass shooters in El Paso, Christchurch and Pittsburgh.
Tucker must go. https://t.co/FSvgNfR1KO