Tucker Carlson has a history of anti-LGBTQ statements and actions, from bragging about the assault of a man in 1980 to inciting violence against a survivor of the Pulse Massacre.
Yet when it comes to Warren Jeffs, a convicted pedophile, Carlson was more than willing to stand in support.
Carlson has made a living out of saying controversial things, being one of the top hosts on Fox News. In his time with the network, he has attacked LGBTQ people repeatedly.
In one notable incident, Carlson attacked Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting, critiquing his appearance on Joy Reid’s show, AM Joy, and calling Wolf a “political hack who will say anything to get his candidates elected.”
Carlson called lifting Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the policy that banned LGB military service members from being open about their sexuality, a “sideshow issue” and claimed to be “disgusted” by gender neutral restrooms at the Democratic National Convention in 2016.
He’s regularly brought people onto his show to mock and insult them, including Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund executive director Jillian Weiss.
Carlson has even been accused by Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, for assaulting a gay man at a country club in 2018.
Yet, in a trove of audio uncovered by Media Matters for America from Carlson appearances with the morning radio “shock jock” known as “Bubba the Love Sponge,” Carlson defends cult leader Warren Jeffs.
Jeffs was accused of arranging marriages between his adult male followers and girls as young as 12-years-old.
Carlson surprised Bubba with his willingness to go to bat for Jeffs.
“He’s not accused of touching anybody,” said Carlson about Jeffs in a September 2006 interview.
“He is accused of facilitating a marriage between a 16-year-old girl and a 27-year-old man. That’s the accusation. That’s what they’re calling felony rape.”
“That’s bullshit,” added Carlson. “I’m sorry. Now this guy… may be a child rapist. I’m just telling you that arranging a marriage between a 16-year-old and a 27-year-old is not the same as pulling a stranger off the street and raping her.”
Carlson is defending Jeffs from charges filed in June 2005. In that case, Jeffs was charged with two first-degree felony counts of rape as an accomplice for facilitating a 2001 marriage between a 14-year-old, Elissa Wall, and her 19-year-old cousin.
Wall objected to the marriage, pleading that she be allowed to wait, but Jeffs, the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, pressed on. Wall has claimed that she was raped repeatedly by her husband and miscarried several times.
Jeffs was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List for fleeing those charges and was was finally arrested in August of 2006. One month before Carlson’s statements. Jeffs conviction in that case was eventually thrown out by the Utah Supreme Court due to bad jury instructions.
In 2008, Jeffs faced new felony charges of sexual assault on a child and and he was ultimately convicted in 2011.
Carlson defended him during this time, too, saying in August of 2009, “He’s in prison because he’s weird and unpopular and he has a different lifestyle that other people find creepy.”
“He’s like got some weird religious cult where he thinks it’s OK to, you know, marry underaged girls, but he didn’t do it,” Carlson added.
“Why wouldn’t the guy who actually did it, who had sex with an underaged girl, he should be the one who’s doing life.”
Bubba and a co-host disagreed, putting Carlson on the defensive.
“Look, just to make it absolutely clear. I am not defending underage marriage at all. I just don’t think it’s the same thing exactly as pulling a child from a bus stop and sexually assaulting that child,” said Carlson.
“The rapist, in this case, has made a lifelong commitment to live and take care of the person, so it is a little different.”
In between his two radio appearances where Carlson defended Jeffs, Carlson appeared on MSNBC Live with Dan Abrams, sharing a story of being “bothered” by a man in a restroom in 1980.
“A man physically grabbed me in a men’s room in Washington, DC,” said Carlson.
“I yelled, pulled away from him and ran out of the room. Twenty-five minutes later, a friend of mine and I returned to the men’s room.”
“The man was still there, presumably waiting to do to someone else what he had done to me. My friend and I seized the man and held him until a security guard arrived.”
Media Matters For America has claimed that additional Carlson tapes will be forthcoming.