(The Hill) – A text message sent by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson about a video he saw of the violence that broke out during the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol alarmed the network’s leaders just days before it ousted him from the cable news giant, according to a new report.
In the message, sent to one of the top-rated host’s producers, Carlson wrote he was “watching video of people fighting on the street in Washington. A group of Trump guys surrounded an Antifa kid and started pounding the living shit out of him,” according to The New York Times.
“It was three against one, at least. Jumping a guy like that is dishonorable obviously. It’s not how white men fight,” Carlson said. “Yet suddenly I found myself rooting for the mob against the man, hoping they’d hit him harder, kill him. I really wanted them to hurt the kid. I could taste it.”
In its report, the Times said it had learned the contents of Carlson’s message which had previously been redacted in court filings made by Dominion Voting Systems as part of the company’s blockbuster defamation lawsuit against Fox. The network last month agreed to pay $787 million to settle the case out of court.
Carlson’s text about the video he saw reportedly set off panic among Fox’s board and top levels of executive leadership, with officials worrying the contents of those messages could become public and prove embarrassing for the network. During the trial, attorneys for Dominion and several leading national news organizations had pushed for the judge overseeing the case to un-redact some of the contents of messages from Carlson and other top hosts and leaders at Fox.
Carlson wrote in the message that as he watched the video, “somewhere deep in my brain, an alarm went off: this isn’t good for me. I’m becoming something I don’t want to be.”
“The Antifa creep is a human being. Much as I despise what he says and does, much as I’m sure I’d hate him personally if I knew him, I shouldn’t gloat over his suffering,” the host said. “I should be bothered by it. I should remember that somewhere somebody probably loves this kid, and would be crushed if he was killed. If I don’t care about those things, if I reduce people to their politics, how am I better than he is?”
Carlson’s nightly program had become widely known for its controversial segments on issues of race, immigration, gender and other cultural matters. He infamously suggested during one program that immigration makes America “poorer and dirtier.”
Fox ousted Carlson last week in a move that sent shockwaves across the media and political spectrum. The network has not said anything publicly about what led to the host’s ouster, and Carlson has not spoken about his plans for the future beyond a cryptic video posted to his Twitter account blasting the cable news business more generally.
The Times report comes a day after footage of the host making crude and sexual comments about women on the set of his popular show was leaked to liberal media watchdog Media Matters for America.