The head of the Anti-Defamation League has called for Fox News to fire Tucker Carlson, after the primetime host said immigration would “dilute the political power” of Americans.
Carlson was referring to “white replacement”, a racist theory that has been cited as a motivation in deadly attacks.
On Sunday, Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive and national director of the ADL, told CNN Fox News should fire Carlson because of his “open-ended endorsement of white supremacist ideology”.
“I think we’ve really crossed a new threshold when a major news network dismisses this or pretends like it isn’t important,” Greenblatt said. “Tucker has got to go.”
Two days earlier, Greenblatt wrote in an open letter to Fox that Carlson’s “rhetoric was not just a dog whistle to racists – it was a bullhorn”. He also cited previous instances in which Carlson has used anti-migrant rhetoric, including arguing that immigration makes the US “poorer and dirtier” and questioning whether white-supremacist ideology exists.
In the letter, first reported by the Associated Press, Greenblatt also cited Carlson’s “long record of race-baiting”.
Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Greenblatt’s call for Carlson’s dismissal comes as many as many Republican-led states attempt to pass legislation critics argue is designed to restrict voting by minorities.
Carlson said he was concerned about his own “voting rights” and said he had “less political power because they are importing a brand new electorate”.
“I know that the left and all the gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement’,” he said, “if you suggest that the Democratic party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters, from the third world.
“But they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening, actually. Let’s just say it. That’s true.”
Carlson added: “Every time they import a new voter, I become disenfranchised as a current voter.”
Charles Blow, a New York Times columnist, wrote: “When Carlson worries about immigrants from the third world he is talking about Hispanic, Asian and Black people who he worries will outnumber ‘current’ voters. Current voters, in this formulation, are the white people who make up the majority of the American electorate.”
The primetime Fox News host has long been controversial. In 2019, soon after a gunman killed 22 people in El Paso, allegedly after posting a manifesto complaining about a “Hispanic invasion”, Carlson claimed that white supremacy was a “hoax”. Earlier that year, as many as 33 advertisers were reported to have pulled out of Carlson’s show.
“Tucker Carlson has a history of sanitizing stereotypes and of spreading this kind of poison but what he did on Thursday night really was indeed … a new low,” Greenblatt told CNN.
He also took aim at the owners of Fox News for overlooking Carlson’s controversies in pursuit of ratings.
“Where are the Murdochs? How can they countenance their network being used to mainstream the most violent and toxic ideas?” Greenblatt said, adding that it was incumbent on advertisers, cable companies and shareholders “to say there is just too much risk in his racism and he’s got to go”.