Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson denies being racist – but says if he was, he would “just say so”.
“Being racist is not a crime,” Carlson says in a new biography, Tucker, by Chadwick Moore. “Maybe [it is] a moral crime, but not a statutory crime – so if I was racist, I would just say so.”
Carlson has long been accused of pushing racist invective and conspiracy theories during six years as the dominant Fox News primetime host.
He has stirred up numerous controversies including pushing the racist “great replacement theory”, saying immigrants had made America “poorer and dirtier” and once suggested a Black Democrat politician spoke like a “sharecropper”.
In an investigation published last year, the New York Times said Carlson “constructed what may be the most racist show in the history of cable news – and also, by some measures, the most successful”.
Carlson’s new comments on the subject come in a biography that will be published in the US next week. The Guardian obtained a copy.
Carlson was interviewed extensively for the book, which will hit stores as he continues to broadcast from Twitter, amid a standoff with Fox, which took him off the air in April. Far-right host Tucker Carlson leaves Fox News in surprise announcement – video report
Carlson’s discussion of racism and whether he is racist comes during a section of Moore’s book about how Carlson believes Fox sought to tilt the media narrative against him, “releas[ing] a slew of behind-the-scenes emails, blogposts, and off-the-record transcripts featuring Carlson at his most free-spoken”.
On the page, Moore details the “most notable” such story, reported by the New York Times and about a text message containing allegedly racist language.
Describing watching footage of three Trump supporters attacking one leftwing protester, Carlson was revealed to have written: “It’s not how white men fight.”
The Times said Fox leaders were “alarmed”.
Carlson now tells Moore: “Fox told the New York Times they pulled me off because I was racist. But I’m not racist, actually. I’m not insecure about that. If I was racist, I’d just say so. But I’m not.
“Being racist is not a crime – maybe a moral crime, but not a statutory crime – so if I was racist, I would just say so.
“What I said is that’s not how white men fight, which as far as I’m concerned is true. I am a white man. I’m the son of a white man. I’m the grandson of a white man. So, if anyone’s qualified to speak on the subject, it would be me.”
Carlson continued: “And that’s not how white men fight is what I was raised to believe. In the culture I grew up in, you’re not allowed to fight that way. I believe that, and I’m not embarrassed of that at all. But that was somehow translated to, I’m evil or I’m a racist or something.”
The former host of a primetime show which aimed harsh invective at Democrats, progressives and other critics of conservatism also claims to have made his now infamous comment while “counseling one of my producers to not let politics define other people.
“Because it’s unhealthy. It’s un-Christian. It’s wrong.”