Fox News host Tucker Carlson sparked widespread and immediate backlash for seemingly justifying the actions of a vigilante teen accused of opening fire on protesters in Kenosha, Wisc., who were demanding justice for the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Kyle Rittenhouse was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon just outside Wisconsin in the Illinois city of Antioch and charged with first-degree intentional homicide. It came after two people were killed overnight Tuesday as tensions sparked by the shooting of Blake bubbled over during a third straight night of demonstrations in downtown Kenosha.
The father of six remained in the hospital for treatment and will require additional surgeries for his injuries. Doctors have said it will be a miracle if Blake walks again.
During a segment on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” following Rittenhouse’s arrest, the host said he could understand why the teen would want to “maintain order” after violence erupted in the city.
“We do know why it happened, though. Kenosha devolved into anarchy because the authorities abandoned the people,” he said Wednesday night. “Those in charge, from the governor down, refused the law. They’ve stood back and watched Kenosha burn. Are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder?”
Carlson added: “How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?”
His comments drew the ire of journalists, celebrities and Twitter-users alike, including that of Nikole Hannah-Jones, the New York Times Magazine reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize for her work on the 1619 Project.
Comedian Billy Eichner simply wrote “Fire Tucker Carlson,” in a tweet that was quoted and replicated countless times.
The conservative television personality is no stranger to controversy and has sparked boycotts of his show in the past. Last summer, Carlson sent advertisers running after he said the problem of White Supremacy in America was a “hoax” and “conspiracy theory.”
More recently, Carlson became mired in scandal after reporters revealed that his now-former top writer had spent years making racist and sexist comments online. Blake Neff resigned from his post a short time later.
When asked for comment regarding its host’s recent comments, Fox News pointed to a recent tweet from Carlson, doubling down on his remarks.
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