Social media is calling for Fox News host Tucker Carlson to be fired after he defended the actions of a 17-year-old who has been arrested and charged with murder after two people were killed and another injured during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Speaking on Tucker Carlson Tonight Wednesday night, Carlson said Kyle Rittenhouse "decided to maintain order when no one else would."
Rittenhouse reportedly traveled 20 miles from his home in Antioch, Illinois with an AR-15 rifle to Kenosha as the city entered its third straight night of protests following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. As protesters marched to demand justice for Blake, who has been left paralyzed from the waist down, Rittenhouse opened fire after falling while running down the street. He was able to walk around police vehicles without being apprehended, though he was later arrested in his hometown. He is being charged as an adult with first-degree intentional homicide.
Tucker Carlson: "So are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder? How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would." pic.twitter.com/5Mm4L4Qejv
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) August 27, 2020
During his broadcast, Carlson appeared to defend Rittenhouse, claiming that "the authorities in charge of the city abandoned it" and "refused to enforce the law." He said that authorities instead "stood back and they watched Kenosha burn," going on to ask, "So are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder?"
"How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?" he asked. "Everyone can see what was happening in Kenosha. It was getting crazier by the hour."
Carlson's remarks, the latest in a history of controversial statements, immediately sparked backlash, with many calling for Fox News to terminate his position. On Twitter, the phrase "fire Tucker Carlson” even began to trend.
Tucker Carlson defended a white supremacist, right-wing murderer who chased protesters with a rifle and opened fire on them. Demand that Fox #FireTuckerCarlson— Frank Giugliano (@nyccookies) August 27, 2020
Several people, also joining in on the call, called for people to boycott companies that advertise on Fox News and Carlson's show. Many asked for the names of those companies, with John Cusack later providing a list.
“@DesignationSix: Tucker Carlson Justifies Kyle Rittenhouse's murders. We need to boycott cable until they ban Fox News. We can also boycott their sponsors@Disney— John Cusack (@johncusack) August 27, 2020
You ok with this Disney @hulu
You ok with this ? @TivityHealth@SandalsResorts@amazon
You ok with this ?
UPDATE: A Fox News spokesperson reached out to PopCulture.com and pointed to the transcript in order to provide more context. They singled out a tweet from Carlson and the following passage, bolded for emphasis.
"As of tonight, we really don’t have more details. We do you know why it all happened though. Kenosha is devolved into anarchy because the authorities in charge of the city abandoned it. People in charge from the Governor of Wisconsin on down refused to enforce the law. They stood back and they watched Kenosha burn. So are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder? How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?"
Kenosha devolved into anarchy because the authorities abandoned the people. Those in charge, from the governor on down, refused to enforce the law. They’ve stood back and watched Kenosha burn. Are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder? pic.twitter.com/oul2KUiDi3— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) August 27, 2020