Audio resurfaces of Fox News host’s sexual comments on Miss Teen South Carolina

The Fox News host made sexual and racists comments on a weekly radio appearance, according to audio recordings.
The Fox News host made sexual and racists comments on a weekly radio appearance, according to audio recordings. NowThis News/Twitter

Fox News host Tucker Carlson called Miss South Carolina Teen USA “appealing” and “dumb” after her appearance in the Miss Teen USA pageant in 2007, according to audio from a radio show shared by Media Matters and NowThis News.

The audio was released Tuesday amidst a series of releases from the two organizations focused on sexual, racist and homophobic comments Carlson made during weekly appearances on a radio show called “Bubba the Love Sponge Show.”

“I gotta be honest, I thought she was kind of appealing,” Carlson said as he talked about what South Carolina’s age of consent was. Carlson said the girl would “probably be a pretty good wife.”

“Don’t you think — I mean if you had a wife that dumb, would it be good or bad?” The co-hosts chimed in: “Good.”

In other recordings released since Sunday, Carlson joked about child rape and made a number of racist comments, including saying Iraqis were “semiliterate primitive monkeys,” Rolling Stone reports.

After the 2007 Miss Teen USA contest, Carlson suggested the pageant host had sex with the South Carolina contestant Caitlin Upton using vulgar terms, according to the audio.

“She’s like, she’s vulnerable. She’s like a wounded gazelle, separated from the herd,” he said on the tape.

According to USA Today, “Upton was ridiculed nationwide after stumbling on a question about a poll that showed one-fifth of Americans could not locate the United States on a map. Carlson repeatedly called the teenager ‘dumb’ and compared her to an animal.”

The host and Carlson suggest the contestant was 17 in the recording and joke about the age of consent in South Carolina. The Associated Press reported at the time that she was 18.

After national criticism for her performance in the Miss Teen USA pageant, Upton considered suicide, according to the Washington Post.

Several companies have pulled advertising from Carlson’s show, according to Bloomberg News.

Carlson responded to the audio releases with his own tweet this week.

“Media Matters caught me saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago. Rather than express the usual ritual contrition, how about this: I’m on television every weeknight live for an hour. If you want to know what I think, you can watch,” he said.

Actress Alyssa Milano got an idea from a friend of a friend on Facebook to elevate the Harvey Weinstein conversation. She took the idea to Twitter, posting: "If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet." T

Women and men alike have taken to social media recently to post "#MeToo" to raise awareness for the number of victims of sexual harassment and assault. People were encouraged to tweet the hashtag if they had been victims of these themselves.

Clarification: an earlier version of this article, based on the video, said Caitlin Upton was 17 at the time of the comments. Later reports say she was 18.

Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.