On Saturday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) called out Fox News host Tucker Carlson for his role in spreading what the lawmaker says is dangerous “libelous harassment” on his show.
“I genuinely want to know why Tucker Carlson is allowed/paid to engage in clear, targeted, libelous harassment that endangers people and drives so many violent threats that people have to fundraise for their own safety,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
“It’s not within the realm of political commentary, and it’s not just me,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “He regularly targets people that do not have access to resources for protection. Once he gets to fantasizing about ‘booty calls’ of women on national TV I cease to see the political value outside of incitement.”
Ocasio-Cortez is frequently a target of far right figures like Carlson, who again attacked her on Friday by referring to her as a “rich, entitled white lady” and saying that it’s incorrect to refer to her as a woman of color. Ocasio-Cortez identifies as Puerto Rican and Latina, and on Friday she responded to Carlson’s comment on Twitter by referring to him as a pendejo — a Spanish insult that means “idiot.”
Carlson also aired a video from 2018 that Ocasio-Cortez posted to social media saying that the video was “an invitation to a booty call.” Ocasio-Cortez said that the video was sexual harassment and called him a “creep.”
Ocasio-Cortez has previously called out right-wing figures for strange sexual fixations with her and other young women after the right posted pictures of Ocasio-Cortez and her boyfriend. “It’s starting to get old ignoring the very obvious, strange, and deranged sexual frustrations that underpin the Republican fixation on me, women, and LGBT+ people in general,” she wrote in December.
Carlson does indeed have a long history of inciting violence or harassment toward figures that he disagrees with, often on the left. In a particularly high profile instance last year, he harassed New York Times culture reporter Taylor Lorenz in two broadcasts, calling her a “deeply unhappy narcissist” after Lorenz pleaded on Twitter for harassment against women online to stop.
Carlson repeated Lorenz’s full name repeatedly, unleashing a wave of harassment on Lorenz; after Carlson’s attacks, Lorenz posted a screenshot of an email she received threatening her saying that this type of harassment “destroy[s] lives.” Carlson’s show is the top-watched cable news show.
Carlson’s harassment of Lorenz is a pattern for him. The Fox host often harasses journalists; in 2020, Carlson named two Maine journalists after the New York Times began writing a story about him. One of the journalists was doxxed, leading someone to try to break into his house about an hour after Carlson named him on air. He said he and his family received thousands of abusive and threatening emails from the segment.
People who have been guests on the show have also experienced harassment from his extremist right-wing audience. The guests who have been harassed are typically liberal or left leaning.
Right-wing harassment in general seems to be on the rise. Earlier this month, a Texas nature reserve called the National Butterfly Center ended up having to close down because of harassment, stemming from conspiracy theories about the facility and its employees. The center has been in a lawsuit with the Trump administration after the administration began destroying trees and other plants on the facility’s land without seeking permission.
Meanwhile, over the weekend, one person was killed and five people were wounded while participating in a racial justice protest for Amir Locke in Portland, Oregon. Researchers have identified the alleged shooter as an extremist right winger who would often talk about killing anti-fascists and people on the left.
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