Days after a deadly mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Fox News host Tucker Carlson downplayed the threat of white supremacy, calling it a "hoax" and a "conspiracy theory," according to Slate.
The shooting is thought to be racially motivated, given that a manifesto attributed to the suspected shooter has been circulating online. The racist, anti-immigrant document is seen as proof that the crime is not only an act of terrorism but also a hate crime inspired by white supremacy, far-right rhetoric, and anti-immigration sentiment.
But, according to Carlson, white supremacy is "actually not a real problem in America."
"If you were to assemble a list, a hierarchy of concerns, where would white supremacy be on the list?" Carlson asked his viewers during a recent broadcast, proceeding to compare white supremacy to Robert Mueller's Russia probe, describing it as a "conspiracy theory."
"It's a hoax. Just like the Russian hoax. It's a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power," he said.
Although the host's remarks were widely condemned, he doubled down on his claims in a subsequent broadcast, pushing back against criticism. As Fast Company reported, Carlson's remarks reignited calls for advertisers to boycott his show, with multiple social media campaigns urging sponsors to denounce the popular host.
Facing intense pressure, Carlson has decided to go on a break, and his show will resume on August 19, according to Adweek.
Some are rushing to Carlson's defense, however. Former Ku Klux Klan leader and prominent white supremacist David Duke recently defended the host on social media, according to Newsweek.
In a Twitter post, Duke voiced his support for the anchor, agreeing with him that white supremacy is a conspiracy theory, but going a step further and linking it -- as white supremacists frequently do -- to Zionism.
"Tucker is RIGHT!" Duke wrote, proceeding to argue that white supremacists are not actually looking to oppress or harm other races.
"White Supremacy is a ZioMedia Conspiracy Theory! The term is itself a lie. Millions of White activists are NOT 'supremacists' We seek NOT to oppress or destroy any race! Human Rights for all - EVEN FOR WHITE PEOPLE! Stop antiWhite racism!" the former Ku Klux Klan leader tweeted.As Newsweek noted, the United States government has acknowledged the threat of white supremacy.
FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed in a Congressional hearing this July that domestic terrorism is rising, stating that the majority of domestic terrorism cases the bureau has investigated had been motivated by white supremacy.
In the aftermath of the El Paso shooting, in agreement with Wray, Homeland Security chief Kevin McAleenan called for additional funds to investigate white supremacist groups.