A survivor of the 2016 Pulse massacre now faces online threats after being mocked on the air by Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson.
Carlson Tuesday called out Brandon Wolf, who has become a prominent gun control activist since surviving the Orlando attack, for appearing on Joy Reid’s MSNBC show AM Joy the day Reid apologized for homophobic remarks she made years ago on a now-defunct blog.
“She invited a guy on called Brandon Wolf,” Carlson said on his show, Tucker Carlson Tonight (watch below). “Now, the point of Brandon Wolf on Joy Reid’s show was to make everything OK. And Wolf did this by saying ‘OK, maybe those comments were offensive, but they were nothing compared to Mike Pence.’”
Wolf did make mention of Pence of Reid’s show. “If Mike Pence, God bless him, ended up in the White House sitting behind that desk in the Oval Office,” Wolf said, “he would have us all in concentration camps trying to pray away the gay.” The remarks were an apparent reference to campaign statements by Pence in 2000 interpreted by many as support for funding conversion therapy.
Carlson also brought on out journalist Chadwick Moore, identifying him as a former writer for The Advocate. Moore last year announced he had become a conservative after facing backlash over an Out profile of gay conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. Moore said there was “nothing homophobic about Mike Pence.” Moore also said gays should not fear Christians and should be more wary of “Islamofascists” like Pulse shooter Omar Mateen. “The Pulse nightclub was not attacked by the radical Amish,” Moore said. “There is a group of people in this world who wants to harm gay people, and it’s not Christians.”
After the segment, Wolf received a barrage of threatening comments on Twitter, as documented by GLAAD. “I wish you were converted into dust,” wrote one Twitter user. “It’s A Good Thing Your Gay Because America Doesn’t Need You Having Offspring,” wrote another.
GLAAD released a statement taking particular offense that Carlson and Moore laughed while discussing the fact that Wolf survived the Pulse attack. Wolf had been at the club with friends Drew Leinonen and Juan Guerrero, who were among the 49 killed in the shooting. “You’re wrong Tucker,” the GLAAD statement reads. “Wolf is not a political hack. He’s a young American who overcame one of the most tragic experiences imaginable and deserves better than your belittling brand of smugness. He’s not getting paid millions like you.”
Wolf, who helped found the Dru Project in Leinonen’s name, said on Facebook that the entire episode serves an example how ugly social media bullying can become.
“We’ll never know why Tucker Carlson thinks the Pulse shooting is so funny. Or why he continues to giggle and chuckle at it every chance he gets,” Wolf said online. But we do know that LGBTQ youth face this kind of social media harassment everyday. And that Tucker could go a long way toward stopping it by using his platform to call for an end to threats of violence from his viewers.”
The Advocate sought comment from Carlson, who had this response: “Brandon Wolf told MSNBC viewers that if Mike Pence became president, he would put gay people in concentration camps. That is false, and I said so. I didn’t ‘attack a survivor of the Pulse nightclub massacre.’ I fact-checked a talking head on Joy Reid’s show who was lying. That’s still allowed, I think.”