Fox News host Tucker Carlson apologizes for profanity-laced interview: "It was genuinely heartfelt"

"Here's the interview that Tucker Carlson and Fox News didn't want you to see"

Published February 21, 2019 12:10PM (EST)

 (Getty/Phillip Faraone)
(Getty/Phillip Faraone)

Fox News host Tucker Carlson responded Wednesday to a now-viral video of an unaired interview in which he swore at a guest, calling him a "moron" and a "tiny brain," by apologizing for his use of foul language. At the same time, he defend his spirited reaction as "entirely accurate."

"I did what I try hard never to do on this show, and I was rude," Carlson said in a taped video shared to Fox News's website about his exchange with Dutch historian Rutger Bregman. "There is some profanity, and I apologize for that. On the other hand, it was genuinely heartfelt. I meant it with total sincerity."

The tape, in which Carlson blasted Bregman, exploded on social media on Wednesday after it was published by NowThis News. The video footage, which was filmed by Bregman, was of an interview intended for Carlson's primetime show, "Tucker Carlson Tonight." Carlson invited Bregman onto his show following the Dutch historian's January appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Bregman made headlines worldwide after he slammed the conference's attendees — the world's global elites —for avoiding to pay taxes during a discussion on income inequality.

But viewers never saw Carlson's interview with Bregman, who revealed on Twitter last week that the host called him a "f**king moron." In another tweet, Bregman said he had a recording of the entire exchange, prompting many social media users to urge for the video to be released.

On Wednesday afternoon, the people's request had been fulfilled.

"Here's the interview that @TuckerCarlson and Fox News didn't want you to see," Bregman tweeted, sharing a roughly eight-minute-long video published by NowThis News that had been viewed more than 7 million times as of Thursday morning. "I chose to release it, because I think we should keep talking about the corrupting influence of money in politics. It also shows how angry elites can get if you do that."

The segment appeared to begin as a civil discussion about taxes that took a turn when Bregman called out Fox News, claiming that the people on the channel, along with those at Davos, had been "bought by the billionaire class."

"Almost all the pundits on this channel for years have been against higher taxes, right?" Bregman said.

Carlson could be heard fumbling for words before responding, "It would be interesting to know how many hours of Fox you've watched."

The host then pivoted the discussion back to tax avoidance, but Bregman wasn't finished with his critique of Fox News. He accused Carlson of being a "millionaire funded by billionaires" and "part of the problem," arguing that all the anchors on Fox News are millionaires because they avoid discussing certain topics.

"Fox doesn't even play where you are," Carlson retorted, which led Bregman to ask Carlson if he had "heard of the Internet."

"I can watch things – whatever I want – you know," Bregman said, laughing.

The pair's war of words continued as Carlson insisted that he does discuss issues that may be unpopular among the wealthy, but Bregman remained unmoved. Carlson can then be heard shouting, "Moron . . . I want to say to you, why don't you go f**k yourself ― you tiny brain. And I hope this gets picked up, because you're a moron. I tried to give you a hearing, but you were too f**king annoying."

Carlson said in his response to the NowThis video that the pre-taped segment was scrapped because of his expletive-laden language and rudeness but that he meant every word he said. He explained that he was angry about Bregman's suggestion that Fox News tells him what he can't and can't say on air.

“Whatever my faults or those of this channel, nobody in management has ever told us what positions to take on the air – never. Not one time," Carlson said, before stressing that he and others on Fox News have "total freedom."

By Shira Tarlo

MORE FROM Shira Tarlo

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All Salon Davos Fox News Rutger Bregman Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tonight World Economic Forum