Fox News host Tucker Carlson announced a conveniently timed vacation Monday night in the same hour that he was forced to address his now former staffer’s racist and sexist message board posts.
The controversial commentator closed out his show Monday with a temporary farewell, saying he was going off the air for a “long-planned” vacation to do some “trout fishing” and will return next Monday.
Other Fox News hosts have coincidentally also found themselves with scheduled time off in the middle of scandals, including Carlson himself last year after he claimed that white supremacy was a hoax. Laura Ingraham took a recess from “The Ingraham Angle” in March 2018 after mocking Parkland survivor David Hogg, while Bill O’Reilly left for some “R&R” in April 2017 after news broke of his $13 million settlement with five women who accused him of sexual harassment. He never returned to the air.
Carlson’s announcement Monday night followed his first public acknowledgement of the firing of his show’s top writer, Blake Neff, Friday after his bigoted blog posts were revealed by CNN.
“First, what Blake wrote anonymously was wrong. We don’t endorse those words. They have no connection to this show. It is wrong to attack people for qualities they cannot control,” Carlson said Monday night.
“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 will continue to defend that principle, often alone among national news programs, because it is essential. Nothing is more important.”
But at the same time, Carlson lashed out at Neff’s critics.
“Blake fell short of that standard and he has paid a very heavy price for it. But 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,” the Fox News host 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 never mentioned the specifics of Neff’s transgressions, which included racist stereotypes about minorities and a five-year-long thread attacking a woman and posting personal information about her “that has invited other users to mock her and invade her privacy,” according to CNN.
“Black doods staying inside playing Call of Duty is probably one of the biggest factors keeping crime down,” Neff allegedly wrote in one post.
“Honestly given how tired black people always claim to be, maybe the real crisis is their lack of sleep,” he said in another.
Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace denounced Neff’s “horrific racist, misogynistic and homophobic behavior” in a memo to staff.
“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,” Scott and Wallace wrote Saturday.