Tucker Carlson used his prime-time spot on national TV this week to defend a group of white nationalists who believed in the Pizzagate conspiracy theory and who had previously tried to stop humanitarian ships from rescuing drowning migrants.
Noted Twitter troll Brittany Pettibone and her boyfriend, Austrian far-right activist Martin Sellner, were barred from entering the U.K. when they landed at Luton airport on Tuesday. Separately, far-right YouTube personality Lauren Southern was stopped by Border Officials at Calais and barred as well, with authorities saying her presence was “not conducive to the public good.” Immigration authorities removed Pettibone and Sellner based on intelligence that the two were planning to meet with far-right figure Tommy Robinson, and that their visit was designed “to insight [sic] tensions between local communities in the United Kingdom.”
On Tuesday night, Carlson dug in. “American YouTube personality Brittany Pettibone and her Austrian boyfriend were barred from entering the U.K., because they planned to interview Tommy Robinson, an outspoken critic of Islam,” Carlson said. “Then, on Monday, British police halted a visit by Canadian journalist Lauren Southern, on the grounds she was, quote, ‘a radical Christian,’ and therefore, possibly a terrorist.”
He complained, “Meanwhile, radical Muslims, more than 400 former ISIS fighters were welcomed.”
Pettibone previously described herself as “one of the leading authorities on Pizzagate,” a fringe conspiracy theory that claims former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta is involved in an international child sex ring. The unfounded conspiracy, which has been debunked several times over, inspired an armed North Carolina man to visit Comet Ping Pong Pizza in Washington D.C. in 2016, where he attempted to search the premises for sexually abused children he believed were tied to the sex ring. Unsurprisingly, he found no evidence to support the theory, and was arrested by local police after firing several shots in the air with his assault-style rifle.
Southern, Pettibone, and Sellner were also all involved in attempts last summer to stop humanitarian ships from rescuing migrants who were drowning in the Mediterranean Sea; the three claimed that the migrants were part of a continental “invasion.” Unfortunately, their boat ran into trouble and they found themselves being rescued by the very humanitarian groups they were protesting.
Naturally, Carlson glossed over all this on Tuesday night, instead choosing to interview far-right British media personality Katie Hopkins about how the U.K. barring Pettibone, Sellner, and Southern proved the nation “really hates itself, its heritage, its own people.”
“It seems…that being white is considered wrong, being Christian is considered wrong, Trump is wrong,” Hopkins told Carlson. “To be Islamic is right, to welcome back jihadis is right, we shouldn’t prosecute them, we should embrace them. It’s really getting to a point here in the U.K. when we’re up there on the endangered species list. To be a white, Christian, conservative woman like myself, I’m right up there on the endangered species list…up there with the black rhino — and the black rhino’s got an advantage because he’s black.”
Hopkins was previously a presenter on Britain’s LBC radio, where she was sacked after she tweeted that “we need a final solution” in wake of the Manchester Arena bombing. Prior to that, she worked for MailOnline, where she was repeatedly taken to court for libel and defamation, costing her employers tens of thousands of pounds in damages and legal fees. (Disclosure: the author of this article previously worked for MailOnline.)
This isn’t the first time Tucker has waded in to defend the far-right without knowing all the facts. Last September, he defended the social media site Gab, which was described by The New York Times as a “digital safe space for the far-right.” Had Tucker done his research, he would know that the number of extremism-related arrests in the U.K. rose to a record high last year, far from the “embrace” that Hopkins suggests.