At the GLAAD Media Awards in New York City Saturday, two activists called out Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson, saying he incited his viewers to send them hateful messages.
Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting and a gun reform activist, and Blair Imani, a queer Muslim woman, told of harassment at the hands of Carlson’s fans. Imani came out as queer “accidentally” last year on an episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight, where she was discussing the need for Muslim safe spaces. “It went about as well as you’d expect,” she said. “Tucker Carlson went off on me, and his audience put me through it, even sending me death threats.”
Wolf then noted just last week Carlson had denounced him for appearing on Joy Reid’s MSNBC show, AM Joy, where Wolf critiqued the homophobia of Vice President Mike Pence. “He mocked me and other survivors like me,” Wolf said of Carlson. “He laughed at our pain. I received the ugliest messages you can possibly imagine on my feed, including similar death threats.”
Wolf and Imani (watch video below) both demanded that Carlson “condemn that kind of vitriol” and spoke of the support they’d received from GLAAD. They asked members of the audience to donate to GLAAD in Carlson’s name.
GLAAD sought comment from Tucker Carlson Tonight’s producers, Brian Storey, Alexander McCaskill, Elizabeth Fanning, and Charles Couger, but they have not responded. Carlson gave a statement to The Advocate last week saying Wolf had distorted Pence’s record by claiming on Reid’s show that the vice president wants to put LGBT people in concentration camps to turn them straight and cisgender.
Wolf later told the Washington Blade, “I misspoke on Joy’s show. What I meant to say was that Vice President Pence would have us in conversion camps. Which, of course, is a reference to Pence’s tacit support of the abhorrent practice of conversion therapy on LGBTQ youth.”
When Pence ran for Congress in 2000, a statement on his campaign website said he favored directing AIDS funding to groups that help people change their sexual behavior, something widely interpreted as support for “ex-gay” therapy, although Pence has said it was not.
Of course, Pence has a long record of other anti-LGBT stances as a congressman, governor of Indiana, and vice president, opposing marriage equality, LGBT-inclusive hate-crimes legislation, and repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Most famously, as Indiana governor, he signed into law a “religious freedom” bill that opponents said would allow anti-LGBT discrimination; it was later amended. And many political observers believe that as vice president, he’s played a leading role in formulating Donald Trump’s anti-LGBT policies, including the transgender military ban.