Newly released recordings of Tucker Carlson — the third set made public in as many days — feature the prominent Fox News host joking about having sex with a teenage beauty pageant contestant. In the tapes, Carlson also makes a series of sexist, misogynist and cruel remarks about the young woman, who was a contestant in a 2007 Miss Teen USA competition.
“She’s so dumb,” Carlson said on the recording, an old interview on the “Bubba the Love Sponge Show,” uncovered by the nonprofit watchdog Media Matters for America and first published by NowThis News. “She’s like, she’s vulnerable. She’s like a wounded gazelle, separated from the herd.”
Carlson then speculated without evidence that the pageant’s host, actor Mario Lopez, had sex with the woman, who Carlson believed was underage at the time.
“Well she was 17,” the radio show’s host said. “Couldn’t that be a problem legally if Mario f---ed it?”
“No. No, are you kidding? He’s like James Brown,” Carlson responded, referring to the musician who was arrested on domestic violence charges. “The normal laws for that kind of thing don’t apply to him. He gets a pass.”
“Tucker is dark,” the host, Bubba, responded.
At one point in the recording, Carlson says the teen would “probably be a pretty good wife,” adding, “Don’t you think — I mean if you had a wife that dumb, would it be good or bad?”
The answer from the show’s co-hosts was a resounding “good.”
Carlson later says, “I was thinking about tapping my foot next to her stall” — an apparent reference to a code to express a desire for sex.
Caitlin Upton, the woman Carlson ridiculed and objectified, was Miss South Carolina Teen USA that year and had already faced harsh treatment at the hands of Internet and media commentators, who mocked her for an answer she gave during the pageant.
In 2015, Upton told New York magazine that her humiliation nearly led her to suicide.
“I was very, very depressed,” she said. Fox News covered the story.
The unearthed audio is the latest in a series of tumultuous revelations that began Sunday, when Media Matters released audio of Carlson degrading women and flippantly discussing child rape in old radio interviews. On Monday, the group published more audio, this time revealing racist and homophobic remarks he made on the same radio program, which he apparently called in to for an hour every week.
Facing heat from observers across the political spectrum, Carlson has repeatedly refused to back down, condemn his past comments or apologize. On Monday, he said his network supports him.
“Fox News is behind us, as they have been since the very first day,” Carlson said. “Toughness is a rare quality in a TV network, and we’re grateful for that.
After his show on Tuesday, Carlson’s Fox News comrade Sean Hannity commended him for fending off his many detractors, adding that Carlson had delayed a vacation to defend himself on air (though, later, a Fox News spokesman said Hannity misspoke and that Carlson was always scheduled to host his show this week).
“All right, I got to give you a compliment,” Hannity said, addressing Carlson. “Now Tucker, he was going to be off this week. It becomes a busy news week, and he’s not going to take the mob’s crap. And he came into work to stand up to this, and I want the great viewers of this channel to know that.”
Hannity is a self-described expert in dealing with “the mob,” his term for those who have condemned offensive remarks that both Hannity and Carlson have made over the years.
“I’m, like, trying to help,” Hannity told Carlson, before bringing up their colleague Laura Ingraham, whose show lost advertisers after she mocked a school shooting survivor. “I’m like you, Laura. Laura, you. Me. Me, Laura, you. It’s like, never stops."
In all three instances, the audio that Media Matters released of Carlson was recorded between 2006 and 2011.
After the first round — which featured Carlson’s suggestions that rape shield laws were “totally unfair,” that women were “extremely primitive” and that he would “love” a scenario involving young girls experimenting sexually — Carlson issued a defiant statement to The Washington Post.
“Media Matters caught me saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago,” he said. “Rather than express the usual ritual contrition, how about this: I’m on television every weeknight live for an hour. If you want to know what I think, you can watch.”
In the second round of audio, Carlson is heard calling Iraq a “crappy place filled with a bunch of, you know, semiliterate primitive monkeys.” He also spoke crassly of immigrants and posed a racist question about Barack Obama’s identity as a black man. “How is he black, for one thing? He has one white parent, one black parent,” he said in 2006. Two years later, he added, “I don’t know how black he is, but I’m sure he’s a good basketball player — he says he is, anyway.”
On his show Monday night, Carlson maintained on his show that he owed nobody an apology.
“We’ve always apologized when we’re wrong, and we’ll continue to do that. But we will never bow to the mob, ever,” Carlson said. “No matter what.”
A Fox News spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on Carlson’s remarks about the Miss Teen USA contestant.
Michael Brice-Saddler, Eli Rosenberg and Allyson Chiu contributed to this report.