Terrance Heath

Tucker Carlson's Gay Panic

Filed By Terrance Heath | August 29, 2007 2:20 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Media, Politics
Tags: gay rights, larry craig, media, Tucker Carlson

Note to self: If I ever run into Tucker Carlson in a D.C. area men's room, do not say "hello," nod in recognition, or even so much as smile at the S.O.B.

OK. First the mere thought of Hillary Clinton makes Tucker Carlson want to cross his legs. Then the mere mention of transgenders make Tucker Carlson reach for his balls. So, now Tucker opens his mouth on Larry Craig, and this is what comes out.

These guys are laughing and (naturally) even Wonkette found it funny. But maybe I've spent too much time reading and writing about hate crimes to find it amusing. Tucker may consider himself the "the least anti-gay right winger" you'll ever meet. But if you meet him in the men's room, don't look too closely. Because you'll look right into the face of gay bashing.

Media Matters has the transcript.

ABRAMS: But Tucker, your position has long been on these kinds of stories that their personal lives are not our business. Does this case qualify for that, in your mind, as well?

CARLSON: Let me be clear, Dan. I am not gay. I have never been gay. I overreacted and made a poor decision.

SCARBOROUGH: And you love your -- you love your wife, Tucker. Let me just say for the record, I am not gay, either.

CARLSON: Let me -- let me put it this way. Whether he's gay or not actually is not our business, and I do think it's indefensible that the newspaper in Idaho spent a year interviewing 300 people to answer the question, Is he gay? That's none of your business. Having sex in a public men's room is outrageous. It's also really common. I've been bothered in men's rooms. I think people who do -

SCARBOROUGH: Really?

CARLSON: Yeah, I have. You know what, Let me just say.

SCARBOROUGH: Wait, hold on a second. Dan, hold on a second. I don't mean to take over, but have you been bothered in public restrooms, Dan? Because I know I haven't.

CARLSON: I have. I've been bothered in Georgetown Park. When I was in high school.

ABRAMS: Really?

CARLSON: Yes.

SCARBOROUGH: Wow.

CARLSON: And let me just say, I think --

SCARBOROUGH: That's something.

CARLSON: -- people should knock that off. I'm not anti-gay in the slightest, but that's really common, and the gay rights groups ought to disavow that kind of crap because, you know, that actually does bother people who didn't ask for being bothered. So yeah, I think it's outrageous that he did that. And also, this specter of him getting up there and blaming other people is so Clintonian. You know, if he just said, "I'm not going to talk about it," that'd be one thing.

...

CARLSON: But it's also -- but it's evidence, in Larry Craig's case -- I mean, you know, you just watch the press conference, and you see a man who's not in possession of himself. I mean, there's something -- you know, I'm not a shrink, but there's clearly something wrong with Larry Craig. He appeared to believe it. This is a guy who's been accused repeatedly over the years of soliciting sex from men in bathrooms. So the chances that he's arrested for the same thing accidentally --

ABRAMS: Right, right, right.

CARLSON: What, he's the unluckiest man and he's Job?

SCARBOROUGH: Hey, Tucker?

CARLSON: You know what I mean? It's insane!

SCARBOROUGH: Was he the guy in Georgetown, Tucker?

CARLSON: No, actually. I got that -- my point is -- let me just say --

ABRAMS: Tucker, what did you do, by the way? What did you do when he did that? We got to know.
CARLSON: I went back with someone I knew and grabbed the guy by the -- you know, and grabbed him, and -- and --



ABRAMS: And did what?

CARLSON: Hit him against the stall with his head, actually!

[laughter]
CARLSON: And then the cops came and arrested him. But let me say that I'm the least anti-gay right-winger you'll ever meet --

[laughter]

CARLSON: -- but I do think doing this in men's rooms appears to be common. It's totally wrong, and they should knock it off. I mean that. I think it's -- I can't bring my son to the men's room at the park where he plays soccer because of all these creepy guys hanging around in there. I actually think it's a problem. I'm sorry.

Tucker left the restroom, came back with reinforcements (why do these guys always needs reinforcements?) and bashed the bashed the guy's head against the stall. If he'd just walked away, that would have been the end of it. But he went back. With a friend.

In that sense, he reminds me of the guy who attacked Dwan Prince for making a flirtatious remark. He went back with two friends, to attack Dwan Prince. He also reminds me of the guy who attacked Roberto Duncanson for allegedly looking at him in a flirtatious manner. After Duncanson kept moving, the guy stalked him and jumped Duncanson as he was leaving his cousin's home. Bella Evangelista's murder returned and shot her. Michael Wrenn's attacker came after him and his companion even though they kept moving after declining a request to comment on the size of his genitals.

And then there's Tucker Carlson. Someone comes on to Tucker Carlson in the men's room. Tucker walks away, apparently unscathed, and then returns with a buddy to "teach the fag a lesson," much the same way Dwan Prince's basher administered a beating because Prince was "talking that faggot shit again."

I don't know whether Tucker was afraid to take the guy on one on one, whether he had something to prove to the friend he brought back into the bathroom with him, or whether he just had some to prove to himself. But as far as I concerned, Tucker fits the profile of a gay basher. "Gay panic" and all.

Update: Carlson has responded with the following message to Media Matters.

Let me be clear about an incident I referred to on MSNBC last night: In the mid-1980s, while I was a high school student, a man physically grabbed me in a men's room in Washington, DC. I yelled, pulled away from him and ran out of the room. Twenty-five minutes later, a friend of mine and I returned to the men's room. The man was still there, presumably waiting to do to someone else what he had done to me. My friend and I seized the man and held him until a security guard arrived.

Several bloggers have characterized this is a sort of gay bashing. That's absurd, and an insult to anybody who has fought back against an unsolicited sexual attack. I wasn't angry with the man because he was gay. I was angry because he assaulted me.

In classic Craig-like fashion, Carlson's response raises more questions than it answers.

First, it's markedly different from what he said on MSNBC. How did it go from "hit[ting] him against the stall with his head" to holding him until the police arrived?

So, what was last night? Macho posturing for "the boys"? Why embellish the story with violence that he now says didn't happen? And as for fighting back, Carlson "yelled and pulled away from him" and was already gone. Long gone. For 25 minutes. Why then would he return? Did he know the guy would still be there? How did he know the guy would still be there?

And was it unsolicited sexual attack or an unwanted advance, of the kind that most women have experienced at some point or another? Would Carlson have reacted the same way to a woman making the same kind of sexual advance to him?

And while I'm asking questions, what park does Carlson take his kid to that has a thriving "tearoom"? I've got a five year old myself, and I'm pretty familiar with area parks. But he doesn't go into public restrooms unless one of us goes with him, and I've yet to go into one where there's any cruising action going on? And if I did, I probably wouldn't take my kid back to that park.

Like I said, Tucker just raises more questions than he answers.

Crossposted from The Republic of T.


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Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | August 29, 2007 4:03 PM

Well, I suppose.....but then again that was a younger Tucker Carlson and I used to do dumber things than I do now....usually. I do recall Carlson some time ago in either a written piece or a transcript from CNN when he was there saying how loony and fixated Dr. James Dobson was on homosexuality. I think Carlson used the phrase "how creepy these folks are" with respect to some of the Religious Right. So I guess I'll cut him a little more slack at this point, being weary of watching the perfect be the enemy of the good in judging folks.

Leland Frances | August 29, 2007 5:03 PM

NOTA BENE: The only verb Carlson used was "bothered." While he COULD have meant groped, rubbed up against, or in some other way actually touched against his will, he did not say that. So we are free to believe that he and his prep school homey "hit [the guy] against the stall with his head" simply for Carlson being offended.

As Laud Humphrey's decades-old study called "Tearoom Trade" documented, there are common behaviors [such as those catalogued by the officer who arrested Craig] and a very strict code of conduct practiced by tearoom queens which mandates clear consent of the other person. Even had the other guy exposed himself to Carlson, or shown himself masturbating which, believe it or not, is common behavior among experienced tearoom queens, and exactly what the COP who entrapped and arrested George Michael was doing, all that was assaulted was Carlson's homophobic sensitivities. HIS and his friend's VICTIM could have pressed assault and batter charges against THEM, but instead HE got arrested and he apparently had the sense to know that nothing would happen if he tried to convince the police what did or did not occur, or to expect that Carlson and his pal would invoke the "gay panic" defense. Those this happened perhaps 20 years ago when Carlson was in school, in too many jurisdictions, a gay man is still guilty until proven innocent.

Pardon my French, but "I'm not Gay" Adams and "I'm Not Gay" Scarborough probably got major boners and sticky boxers listening to Carlson do his own momentary variation on Jason Patric's character in "Your Friends & Neighbors." His "predator" was lucky that Carlson and his manlier friend didn't rape or beat him to death. Remember Elizabeth Vargas still wants the world to believe that Matthew Shepard contributed to his own death by making a pass at his killers [which even THEY have recanted].

I'm not the first to observe that if women bashed the heads in and had arrested every man who "bothered" them, every hospital and local jail in the land would be overflowing, with lines encircling the block of other guys on gurneys waiting to be admitted.

Worst still is Carlson's irresponsible and unfactual association of gay men generally and tearoom queens specifically with child molestors. Actual pedophiles should be locked up and have the key thrown away, but MSNBC is contributing to self-righteous violence against gay men AS gay men and HRC and NGLTF better get off their asses about this pretty quick. And, NO, I don't mean just giving flight to yet another of your worthless paper airplanes er press releases.

I knew it was a mistake for Hillary not to keep Carlson at his promise to eat his REAL shoe.

- Leland Frances

Michael Bedwell | August 29, 2007 6:44 PM

"So, what was last night? Macho posturing for "the boys'?"

EXACTLY!!! And not just macho posturing but macho, homohate-inflamming posturing in front of millions of TV viewers!