Fox News personality Tucker Carlson is facing backlash after making overtly racist remarks against Tennessee Democratic State Representative Justin Pearson on his show this week.
Pearson is a Black lawmaker who was recently expelled from the state legislature for joining protesters who chanted in support of gun control. He was later reinstated by the Shelby County Board of Commissioners in Memphis and his colleague, Democratic lawmaker Justin Jones, was reinstated in Nashville.
During his show, Carlson claimed that Pearson spoke like a "sharecropper" and got into college only because he is Black. He also suggested that Pearson was acting like a white person during his college days and had changed his demeanor over the years to become the "modern incarnation of Martin Luther King Jr. himself."
You can hear what Carlson said in the video below.
Carlson said Pearson tried to "facilitate an insurrection" in Tennessee and suggested he was trying to act White to fit in at Bowdoin, College—the Maine liberal arts college Pearson attended.
“Justin Pearson wasn’t white. That’s probably how we got into Bowdoin in the first place. But he did a fantastic impression of it .... That was the old Justin Pearson, before his ‘transition.’”
“You got to ask yourself, as long as we’re mimicking civil rights leaders who died almost 60 years ago, why not some variety?”
“You never see politicians transitioning to say, Malcolm X. Why is that? Maybe because Malcolm X didn’t talk like a sharecropper. He spoke dignified standard English."
Critics have accused Carlson of promoting hate speech and perpetuating harmful stereotypes about Black people.
Pearson later responded to Carlson's remarks, calling them "hateful, disrespectful and shameful" and demanded an apology from Fox News.
Carlson's comments have been condemned by many as overtly racist and unacceptable.
Carlson has been accused of using his program to stoke resentment against people of color and a recent New York Timesseries noted he has "constructed what may be the most racist show in the history of cable news."
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Carlson has previously used his program to complain about "race politics" but has conveniently ignored conspiracies he has been responsible for spreading.
For instance, earlier this year Carlson suggested "race politics" are responsible for political divisions across the nation in the aftermath of a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, even going so far as to downplay the existence of White nationalist talking points in the shooter's manifesto.
The shooter—who is reported to have written a 180-page manifesto released prior to the attack—subscribed to the "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory, which suggests White European populations and their descendants are being demographically and culturally replaced with non-European peoples, a conspiracy Carlson has often touted.