Tucker Carlson is facing calls to resign after he appeared to promote the infamous “replacement theory” popular with white supremacists.
“I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World,” Carlson said during a discussion of immigration on Fox News Primetime on Thursday.
“But they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening, actually!” he exclaimed. “Let’s just say it, that’s true!”
Carlson framed the topic not as a racial issue, but as a “voting rights question.”
“If you change the population you dilute the political power of the people who live there,” he went on. “So every time they import a new voter, I become disenfranchised as a current voter.”
The term “replacement” has a dark history. A right-wing conspiracy theory known as the “replacement theory” or “The Great Replacement” holds that birth rates among white people are too low, and that people of colour are gradually “replacing” their share of the world’s population. The idea is popular with white supremacist groups around the world, including in the United States.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, was quick to point that out on Twitter.
“‘Replacement theory’ is a white supremacist tenet that the white race is in danger by a rising tide of non-whites,” Mr Greenblatt wrote. “It is antisemitic, racist and toxic. It has informed the ideology of mass shooters in El Paso, Christchurch and Pittsburgh. Tucker must go.”
The theory has repeatedly turned up in mass shooters’ manifestos. The man who massacred 50 people at a pair of mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, penned an essay before the attack entitled “The Great Replacement.” Shortly before the shooting in El Paso, Texas that killed 23 people, police say the suspected shooter posted an online rant about “ethnic replacement.”
The phrase was also used by the white nationalists who rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 – the ones whom Donald Trump infamously called “very fine people” – who chanted “You will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us.”
On Thursday, Carlson defended his use of the word for several minutes, using a somewhat strained analogy to compare immigrants to adopted siblings.
“If this was happening in your house,” he said, “if you were in sixth grade, for example, and without telling you, your parents adopted a bunch of new siblings, and gave them brand new bikes, and let them stay up later, and helped them with their homework, and gave them twice the allowance that they gave you, you would say to your siblings, ‘You know, I think we’re being replaced by kids that our parents love more.’”
Throughout the comments, Primetime host Mark Steyn nodded and murmured in agreement.
Carlson denied that his remarks were racist.
“Everyone wants to make a racial issue out of it,” he said. “No, no, no. This is a voting rights question. I have less political power because they’re importing a brand new electorate. Why should I sit back and take that?”
Carlson’sFox News show has not yet responded to The Independent’s request for comment.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies