Bill O'Reilly was officially released from Fox News on Wednesday following allegations of sexual harassment against the conservative talk show host. Although O'Reilly denies the allegations against him, they were enough to cause advertisers to pull their ads from his prime-time show and women across the country to call for his removal. Political commentator Tucker Carlson will be filling his time slot, but unfortunately Carlson's comments about women are more than troubling too.
Carlson began his career with Fox News as a weekend host for Fox & Friends in 2013. He then debuted his own prime-time show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, in November 2016 after Megyn Kelly left the network. Now, Carlson's show will be moved from its current 9 p.m. EST time to O'Reilly's coveted 8 p.m. EST slot, which usually draws the highest nightly ratings.
While O'Reilly's dismissal can be seen as a sign that Fox News is attempting to make the network more inclusive and respectful of women, Carlson, who will likely now be seen as the new face of the network, doesn't have the best track record when it comes to what he's said about women. In fact, some of his comments have been extremely disrespectful, not to mention incredibly cringe-worthy.
1On Sexual Harassment
On an MSNBC segment in 2006, Carlson actually accused Democrats of creating the concept of sexual harassment to villify the Republican Party.
This tone-deaf statement suggests that women over-exaggerate claims of harassment, and should simply learn to take a compliment. This type of thinking can lead to victim blaming, and doesn't hold men accountable for making sexually explicit remarks to female colleagues.
2On A 'Teen Vogue' Reporter
When challenging Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca about her op-ed "Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America," Carlson condescendingly mansplained Duca's own article to her, repeatedly claiming that she didn't know the meaning of the word "sovereignty" and that she shouldn't be taken seriously since she has previously written articles about One Direction and Ariana Grande's thigh-high boots.
Carlson seemed to think that because Duca writes for a female-oriented teen magazine and is interested in pop culture, she couldn't possibly have a single intelligent thing to say about politics, which contributes to the horrible idea that women should stay out of the political arena and focus instead on celebrity gossip.
3On Female Professionals
While an editor at the Daily Caller, Carlson received an email request from Amy Spitalnick, a spokesperson for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, to make a correction to a previously published article. After numerous email exchanges between Spitalnick and a writer for the website, Carlson jumped in to explain to Spitalnick why her requests were not being taken seriously. He wrote in an email:
Aside from the extremely condescending tone that treats Spitalnick as a child who needs to be taught proper etiquette, Carlson perpetuates the stereotype that female professionals, when making requests of male colleagues, are being bossy and whiny. This makes it much harder for women to be taken seriously or respected in the workplace.
4On The Gender Pay Gap
On a Fox News panel about the gender pay gap in 2014, Carlson claimed "the losers in the Obama economy have been men," and that women actually make more money than men "if you adjust for the time they take off voluntarily."
He went on to say that Democrats and Republicans need to stop "pandering to women," despite the fact that even three years later in 2017, women still make only approximately 83 cents per every dollar that men earn for equal work.
5On Women In The Military
The administration boasts about sending women to the front lines on the same day Democrats push the Violence Against Women Act.— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) January 24, 2013
Carlson criticized the Obama administration in 2013 for endorsing an initiative that would allow women to serve in combat while also reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, a bill that protects women from domestic abuse. Carlson confusingly attempts to create a corollary between the two, when clearly there is none. Women have as much of a right to serve their countries as men do, just as they have a human right to be protected from violence and abuse.
"Feminism's latest victory: the right to get your limbs blown off in war," Carlson tweeted. "Congratulations."
6On Publishing Objectifying Photos Of Women
As editor for the Daily Caller, Carlson was frequently criticized for featuring sexually explicit photos of women on his website. Headlines like "Hot Women Eating Cereal [SLIDESHOW]" were a daily occurrence. When a woman confronted Carlson about this on his talk show in 2014, calling the practice objectifying, Carlson responded.
He went on to say that "there's nothing serious or creepy about it at all."
When three female members of the cast of Hamilton took the stage at Superbowl LI in February to sing a rendition of "America the Beautiful," they added a line to the patriotic song, singing "And crown thy good with brotherhood — and sisterhood — from sea to shining sea." It was a simple change that lightheartedly expressed the power and significance of female friendships; but for Carlson, it was too "political."
As the new prime-time talk show host of Fox News, Carlson's words matter. He now has the potential to reach almost 4 million viewers on a nightly basis, and his messages have the ability to influence the views of the many Americans who turn exclusively to Fox for their news. So far, Carlson's comments seem to prove that he has a lot of work to do in understanding feminism.