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- Tucker Carlson has covered sexual-harassment allegations about Democratic-leaning figures while remaining quiet about accusations against his former Fox News colleagues.
- “It’s been thoroughly covered – those aren’t secret stories,” he told Business Insider.
- Many television personalities have recently found themselves forced to answer for former colleagues accused of sexual harassment or report on the allegations.
The Fox News host Tucker Carlson says he has largely avoided covering sexual-harassment allegations against his former colleagues – such as those against the longtime CEO Roger Ailes, host Eric Bolling, and anchor Bill O’Reilly – because he did not have anything to add.
“It’s been thoroughly covered – those aren’t secret stories,” Carlson said in an interview after his appearance at Business Insider’s IGNITION conference last week. “I can say with honesty I do not know any details that are not in the papers, and those are scant. So I don’t know what to add.”
By comparison, Carlson has devoted extensive time to covering allegations against figures like the former NBC host Matt Lauer, entertainment mogul Harvey Weinstein, and Democratic Sen. Al Franken.
But Carlson told Business Insider that believing victims of sexual harassment fit a theme of his show: championing total free speech.
“I’ve never sexually harassed anybody, obviously, but self-righteousness is a really unattractive quality in people, and it tends to flower on television,” Carlson said.” And sometimes I do it, and I always regret it. So I really try to remember these are people, and all people with power tend to abuse their power – sexually, financially, in any context.”
He added: “But you ought to be able to tell the truth without being punished … People who haven’t done anything wrong are still worried and nervous, and if we can’t say what we think, we’ve lost something.”
Many other television stars have recently found themselves in the uncomfortable position of reporting on harassment accusations against figures from their networks or being forced to answer for those colleagues.
The “Today” show cohost Savannah Guthrie was visibly shaken on Wednesday’s show when she reported that NBC had fired Lauer over allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior.
The hosts of “CBS This Morning,” meanwhile, condemned sexual harassment following allegations against the show’s former host Charlie Rose, acknowledging that they were still grappling with how to speak about it.
“I’ve held him in such high regard,” Gayle King said on Tuesday. “And I’m really struggling, because how do you – what do you say when someone that you deeply care about has done something that is so horrible? How do you wrap your brain around that? I’m really grappling with that.”
The Fox Business Network host Melissa Francis, appearing on Carlson’s show last week, spoke about the day after O’Reilly was fired.
“While you’re throwing stones at us and saying ‘Is this part of the Fox culture? What does it have to do with what’s going on over here?’ I think you know that your network is full of predators as well, as are all of them,” Francis recalled thinking. “These people exist at every single network, and I could tell you who they are, and I bet you know who they are.”