Lachlan Murdoch, the CEO of the Fox Corporation, wrote in a letter to the Anti-Defamation League that Fox News will not be firing Tucker Carlson for endorsing “replacement theory,” a white supremacist conspiracy.
The ADL had called for Carlson to be fired because, in a segment on the right-wing cable news channel last week, Carlson endorsed the idea that there is a coordinated campaign to replace the population of the United States with immigrants from the “third world.”
The conspiracy theory that Jews are orchestrating a “great replacement” of white westerners with nonwhite immigrants is popular among white supremacists and fueled the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, among other attacks.
Carlson took to the air Monday night and both doubled down on his statement and attacked the ADL. Carlson cited an essay on the ADL's website which argued against a bi-national state or a “one-state solution” for the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Carlson quoted the essay saying, "It is unrealistic and unacceptable to expect the State of Israel to voluntarily subvert its own sovereign existence and nationalist identity and become a vulnerable minority within what was once its own territory."
Carlson then concludes, "Now from Israel's perspective this makes perfect sense, why would any democratic nation make its own citizens less powerful? Isn't that the deepest betrayal of all?" Carslon then invites ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt to come on the program to discuss it.
In explaining his response, Murdoch cited Carlson’s statement, later in the segment, that he wasn’t referring to race but to a question of voting rights.
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“A full review of the guest interview indicates that Mr. Carlson decried and rejected replacement theory,” Murdoch wrote in the letter on Sunday to Greenblatt. “As Mr. Carlson himself stated during the guest interview: ‘White replacement theory? No, no, this is a voting rights question.'”
In a response letter sent Monday, Greenblatt wrote that citing voting rights “does not give [Carlson] free license to invoke a white supremacist trope.
“In fact, it’s worse, because he’s using a straw man – voting rights – to give an underhanded endorsement of white supremacist beliefs while ironically suggesting it’s not really white supremacism,” Greenblatt wrote. “Carlson did not accidentally echo these talking points; he knowingly escalated this well-worn racist rhetoric.”
Greenblatt’s letter also cited other times when Carlson has downplayed white supremacists as “actually not a real problem in America” or described immigrants as dangerous and unwelcome, including once when he said immigration was making America “poorer, dirtier and more divided.”
At least one prominent white supremacist, Nick Fuentes, tweeted that he believed Carlson’s statement was referring to race. “Of course replacement migration is obviously racial and Tucker probably understands that but is unwilling to say it, maybe because he would get fired if he did,” Fuentes wrote on Friday.
In his letter defending Carlson, Murdoch wrote to Greenblatt that “Fox Corporation shares your values and abhors anti-semitism, white supremacy and racism of any kind.” He referred to an award the ADL gave his father, Fox owner Rupert Murdoch, in 2010.
“ADL honored your father over a decade ago,” Greenblatt responded. “But let me be clear that we would not do so today.”
Haaretz contributed to this report