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Tucker Carlson Platforms White Nationalist VDARE on X

More than 18 million people have viewed Carlson’s post on X, with the company’s owner Elon Musk reposting the video. X under Musk has given a platform to certain far-right and fringe figures previously suspended on the site.

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson posted an interview with a leader of white nationalist hate group VDARE on “Tucker Carlson Uncensored,” on social media including X and YouTube last week.

Lydia Brimelow, VDARE officer and wife of the group’s founder Peter Brimelow, portrayed their group as a victim of “cancel culture” in the interview with Carlson. She claimed VDARE is a journalistic nonprofit, but their website has published articles by authors who espouse racism and antisemitic conspiracy theories such as the “Great Replacement,” which claims that liberal politicians are attempting to replace the country’s white population with immigrants. VDARE’s writers, such as noted white nationalist Kevin DeAnna, have also amplified the works of white supremacist terrorists and the texts that inspired their violence, including the manifesto of the terrorist who murdered 51 and injured 40 at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.

VDARE regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, racist pseudoscientists and antisemites. The hate group has long provided a bridge between the anti-immigrant right and the white nationalist movement.

In the interview with Carlson, Brimelow said that New York Attorney General Letitia James had filed a lawsuit regarding the VDARE Foundation’s $1.4 million purchase of a castle in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, a lawsuit she characterized as frivolous.

Hatewatch reported that after the purchase, VDARE deeded the castle property to two entities: the Berkeley Castle Foundation (nonprofit) and a for-profit limited liability company called BBB. Experts told Hatewatch that VDARE’s nonprofit status could be at risk due to these real estate agreements.

Carlson did not challenge Brimelow in the interview.

Carlson, who departed Fox News in April 2023, has formed a partnership with X, formerly known as Twitter. The post from Carlson’s account on that platform has been viewed over 21 million times as of Tuesday evening.

In 2022, The New York Times did an analysis of 1,150 episodes of Tucker’s Fox News show exploring how he pushed extremist ideas and conspiracy theories into millions of households. Carlson, himself the beneficiary of significant family wealth, used “othering” tactics to criticize politicians, judges and others he deemed “the ruling class.” He repeatedly spread the “great replacement” theory and the idea that society is collapsing.

Elon Musk, the current owner of X, reposted Carlson’s video interview with Brimelow and captioned it “alarming.” X under Musk has reactivated racist, far-right and fringe figures whose accounts had been banned or removed before Musk completed his purchase of then-Twitter in October 2022. In December 2023, Musk reinstated conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Jones’ account gained 800,000 followers in three days, Hatewatch reported at the time. Andrew Anglin, the founder of neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, who had been banned from the site since 2013 and publicly advocates the use of violence against his perceived racial enemies, had his account restored for a short time in late 2022. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) sued Anglin on behalf of Jewish real estate agent Tanya Gersh after Anglin led a lengthy harassment campaign against her and her family. After the SPLC won the lawsuit, in 2017, the judge ordered Anglin to pay Gersh $14 million; he has so far, however, ignored the order and has a bench warrant out for his arrest.

White nationalists and neo-Nazis enthusiastically endorsed Carlson’s interview on Telegram, a social media platform popular with white supremacists for its low moderation. For example, after Jason Kessler, the organizer of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, shared the interview on Telegram, one of his followers posted a series of antisemitic and racist memes that included imagery of Nazi soldiers.

Some observers have noted that followers and views on X may not translate to actual views on the content to which posts link. NPR left then-Twitter in April 2023 after the company labeled some of their accounts “state-affiliated media.” Six months later, the news organization circulated a memo to their staff that stated traffic had dropped by only a single percentage point, according to an opinion piece in Nieman Reports. The author of the piece, Gabe Bullard, wrote that the figure confirmed “what many of us in news have long suspected – that Twitter wasn’t worth the effort, at least in terms of traffic.”

Photo illustration by SPLC

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