Below is a message sent out by MediaMatters.com.
Below that is my response to MSNBC.
It's time for MSNBC to address Carlson's comments
During a discussion Tuesday night on MSNBC Live with Dan Abrams
about Sen. Larry Craig's (R-ID) arrest for "lewd conduct" and eventual
guilty plea, Tucker Carlson described to fellow MSNBC hosts Dan Abrams and
Joe Scarborough his assault on a man who he said "bothered" him in a
Washington, D.C., public restroom.
Carlson said, "Having sex in a public men's room is outrageous.
It's also really common. I've been bothered in men's rooms." Carlson
continued, "I've been bothered in Georgetown Park," in Washington, D.C.,
"when I was in high school." When Abrams asked how Carlson responded to
being "bothered," as Abrams and Scarborough laughed, Carlson asserted, "I
went back with someone I knew and grabbed the guy by the -- you know, and
grabbed him, and ... hit him against the stall with his head, actually." The
Carlson's comments, coupled with laughter from Abrams and
Scarborough, suggested to viewers that physical violence is an appropriate
response to an unwelcome overture. This is dangerous and wrong.
MSNBC has yet to acknowledge Carlson's comments or
address why Abrams and Scarborough laughed while Carlson recounted
his actions. Instead, MSNBC has treated Carlson's comments as a laughing
matter, re-airing the portion in which Carlson claimed to have been
"bothered," but omitting the portion in which he seemed to boast of physical
assault. Organizations such as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against
Defamation (GLAAD) and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
(GLSEN) have called on Carlson to apologize for his grossly inappropriate
Carlson has issued a statement completely revising his account of
the alleged incident, but he has yet to apologize or to condemn acts of
violence against gays and lesbians. And Carlson's revised account does
nothing to mitigate the damage of his on-air comments. Meanwhile, MSNBC has
remained silent about the incident.
This past spring, during the controversy surrounding Don Imus'
racist and sexist comments, Steve Capus, president of NBC News, acknowledged
"that there have been any number of other comments that have been enormously
hurtful to far too many people. And my feeling is that ... there should not
be a place for that on MSNBC." He also stated: "This is about trust. It's
about reputation. It's about doing what's right," later adding, "I hope we
don't squander this remarkable opportunity that we have to continue this
dialogue that has taken place, to continue the dialogue about what is
appropriate conduct and speech, to continue the dialogue about what is
happening in America. I think we have, as broadcasters, a responsibility to
address those matters."
He's right: This is about "trust" and "doing what's right." It's
time for MSNBC to repudiate Carlson's comments or risk being seen as
endorsing them.Please contact MSNBC, Dan Abrams, and Joe
Scarborough today and ask that they publicly address Carlson's comments.
It's time for them to show they don't find humor in or condone the violence
Thank you for your continued support.
Managing DirectorMedia Matters for America
Something that most women learn, that men often don't, is how to turn down unwanted sexual advances. If MediaMatters.com is correct, as you were conversing about the predicament in which the not so esteemed Senator from Idaho finds himself, you recalled your own profound (and justified) discomfort at being "hit on" (metaphorically) in the past.
And, at the time, you chose to "hit back," literally.
To be frank, I often disagree with your viewpoints, and sometimes with how they are expressed. Mostly, I figure you are entitled to your opinions and "punditry" and I "deal with it."
Nevertheless, in this case, I am prompted to write to ask you to revisit your remarks and make clear to your fans and listeners that violence and injury is not an acceptable answer-- to bullying, to sexual advances, to opinions. And even though "gay bashing" has occurred and been ignored in many cities for far too long, gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals and (yes, "even") transsexuals have the right to be treated civilly.
Women learn to say, "NO." Or "Stop it." Or "I'm not interested."
Most times, that's all that is required, because most men don't want to be charged with sexual assault or aggravated battery. Historically, women were not allowed to hit or hurt a man who "just wanted to have a little fun."
Would you be willing to apologize to the GLBT viewers of your show? Would you be willing to tell the rest of us that you were young, nervous and (perhaps, even) immature, and that you no longer recommend grabbing, bashing, hitting or otherwise injuring people just because they are gay, or just because their advances were unwelcome?
PS: If you had a child who grew up and claimed he was gay, would you want it to be OK for people to beat him up when he mis-read the cues about possible mutual interest?