Tucker Carlson denigrated a non-binary Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) epidemiologist during a segment on the Fox News show, Tucker Carlson Tonight.
In the episode that aired on December 22, the anti-LGBTQ political commentator claimed epidemiologist Jo Walker used their gender identity and political agenda to influence the prioritization of the vaccine for the viral pathogen responsible for the pandemic.
Carlson said Walker was "not a disinterested scientist," but "a left-wing activist."
I don’t like @TuckerCarlson. At all. Not because I disagree with his political ideology or where he stands on polic… https://t.co/6F6deupBKp— Americans for Hope 🇺🇸 (@Americans for Hope 🇺🇸) 1609018017.0
Carlson blamed employees like Walker for the CDC's initial recommendation suggesting frontline essential workers – who tend to have a greater representation with people of color – should receive the vaccine before the elderly.
The CDC cited evidence indicating some racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately affected by the viral pathogen due to several factors – including discrimination; healthcare access and utilization; and educational, income, and wealth gaps.
According to Metro Weekly, Carlson criticized the vaccine rollout and told viewers this week that White people will be denied the vaccine.
He also accused the CDC of "eugenics" because the agency wanted to vaccinate essential workers first.
@NateSilver538 This is exactly why you should *listen to the experts* like @Jo_Walker_ATL who were telling you that… https://t.co/g2fBfiGetx— Zoë McLaren, PhD (@Zoë McLaren, PhD) 1608484906.0
In addition to denouncing Walker's non-binary identity and their display of the trans flag, Carlson repeatedly misgendered them and said:
"[They] describe [themselves] as 'non-binary'. [They] are barely in [their] 20s… [They] proudly displays a transgender flag in [their] Twitter account."
"[They] tells you that [their] preferred pronouns are they and them."
Tucker Carlson attacking a random CDC worker on his show is terrible. That man is straight bollocks— Big Black Bird (@Big Black Bird) 1608761612.0
@TuckerCarlson Attacks Nonbinary @CDCgov Worker for Trans Flag @TheAdvocateMag https://t.co/ugtcz94eaS To quote G… https://t.co/2I4zSuG8Jv— GlobalLGBTNews 🏳️🌈 (@GlobalLGBTNews 🏳️🌈) 1608782838.0
Carlson continued with his rant and said Walker "appears to be American." He also expressed outrage over the epidemiologist's Twitter bio advocating for the defunding of police and their description of America as "occupied land."
The Fox host concluded the segment with:
"So there you go. Man of science or political activist? We'll let you answer the question."
After receiving a barrage of online "backlash and harassment" following Carlson's segment, Walker was forced to deactivate his Twitter account.
@jo_walker_atl seems to have deactivated their account following the backlash and harassment they got. People like… https://t.co/N0Cf4gPHjG— 𝓐𝓻𝓿𝓲𝓷𝓭 𝓡𝓪𝓳💛🏳️🌈🇲🇾💛 (@𝓐𝓻𝓿𝓲𝓷𝓭 𝓡𝓪𝓳💛🏳️🌈🇲🇾💛) 1608751275.0
Oh Tucker you always try to compete with your co-workers on who can be the most hateful. Fox it's not news it's ent… https://t.co/4WDICilSJR— J Stamps (@J Stamps) 1608749545.0
There was no evidence to suggest Walker's identity or political views influenced the CDC's recommendations.
According to the Associated Press, the agency's final recommendation was that frontline essential workers – including firemen, police, and those over the age of 75 (Group 1B) – would receive equal vaccine priority.
First priority was already given to Group 1A, which consists of frontline health care workers and nursing home residents.
Group 1C includes other non-health care essential workers like those in public utilities, food service, legal and financial jobs, and the media, along with people age 65-74 and those 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions.
While states look to the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) – the committee that provides guidance for vaccine-preventable diseases in the U.S. – the federal recommendations are not binding.
Each state will finalize distribution.