White nationalists go wild for Tucker Carlson's "great replacement" theory

Tucker Carlson's apparent embrace of a major racist talking point sparks ecstasy among far-right online fanatics

Published April 14, 2021 7:47PM (EDT)

Fox News host Tucker Carlson (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Fox News host Tucker Carlson (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

White nationalists, members of the far right and the guru of the neofascist "Groyper" movement are delighted with Tucker Carlson's racially charged "great replacement" remarks made on his primetime Fox News program. 

Last week, Carlson stirred up controversy by claiming Democrats are deliberately seeking to change U.S. demographics for their own political advantage. "In order to win and maintain power, Democrats plan to change the population of the country," Carlson stated a week ago in a 20-minute monologue. That led to Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt calling for the Fox News host's firing, which only resulted in Carlson further doubling down on his previous remarks. 

"I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term 'replacement,' if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World," Carlson stated. "But they become hysterical because that's what's happening actually. Let's just say it: That's true. … If you change the population, you dilute the political power of the people who live there. So every time they import a new voter, I become disenfranchised as a current voter. So I don't understand what we don't understand, cause, I mean, everyone wants to make a racial issue out of it. Oh, you know, the white replacement theory? No, no — this is a voting rights question. I have less political power because they're importing a brand new electorate."

Since then, white nationalists and other denizens of the far right have offered the Fox News host praise for his "great replacement" commentary. Carlson's remarks strongly echo rhetoric pushed by overt white supremacists, who have suggested that white Christians in English-speaking countries are becoming endangered by immigration and growing demographic diversity.  

Media Matters for America reporter Eric Hananoki pointed out that the white nationalist website VDARE, published by alt-right figure Peter Brimelow, called Carlson's remarks "one of the best things Fox News has ever aired."

Leading white nationalist Nicholas Fuentes, whose "Groyper Army" appeals to disaffected young white men, also offered Carlson praise. "I have been skeptical of Tucker ever since his coverage (or lack thereof) of the stop the steal movement after the election, but tonight he really brought it all together & spelled out explicitly what is happening to the country," Fuentes wrote on Twitter. "Unironically huge victory in the battle of ideas." Fuentes went on to call Carlson "based" (a term of praise) and claim that the Fox News post had just "red-pilled 4 million people, and there is nothing liberals can do about it."

But the outpouring of support didn't stop there. In a Telegram message, Newsmax host and far-right pundit Michelle Malkin weighted in on Carlson's comments: "Glad to see Tucker Carlson step up now and finally name names of America's enemies. Hope he pays homage to those who came before him and have had the courage to name them and fight them, long before our generation did." 

A Fox News spokesperson declined to comment on the record about the outpouring of support Carlson has received from the racist fringe of the far right. Carlson has occasionally made explicit denunciations of racism, but often in coded terms that left considerable wiggle room. 

"I'm sure that people who hate my politics will try to discredit them by calling me names, but there is no show that I'm aware of that has made a stronger case for a color-blind meritocracy than ours has," Carlson told Variety in August of 2020. "I believe that all American citizens, regardless of how they were born, should be treated equally under the law. As I say on a nightly basis, we should not impugn people for things they cannot control, for their immutable characteristics. That is an argument against racism." 

By Zachary Petrizzo

Zachary Petrizzo was an investigative reporter at Salon. Follow him on Twitter @ZTPetrizzo.

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Fox News Tucker Carlson White Nationalists