Top 10 Divisive Tucker Carlson Moments That Will Go Down In History

Top 10 Divisive Tucker Carlson Moments That Will Go Down In History
VOICE OVER: Callum Janes WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
Tucker Carlson has been in the middle of a ton of heated moments. For this list, we'll be looking at arguments, rants, and meltdowns concerning cable's most controversial conservative commentator, who parted ways with Fox News in April 2023. Our countdown includes Tucker's Trump Texts, Antifa Debate, M&M's Not S&M Enough, Capital Conspiracy Theories, and more!

Script written by Nick Spake

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Heated Tucker Carlson Moments.

For this list, we’ll be looking at arguments, rants, and meltdowns concerning cable’s most controversial conservative commentator, who parted ways with Fox News in April 2023.

What are your thoughts on Carlson’s exit? Let us know in the comments, but we kindly ask that you keep things civil. After all, comments have consequences, sometimes even resulting in a defamation suit.

#10: Capital Conspiracy Theories

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” (2016-23)

Carlson has spread a wide variety of conspiracy theories pertaining to COVID-19, the 2020 election, and, perhaps most notably, the U.S. Capital attack. His comments regarding January 6th reached a boiling point in 2023 when House Speaker Kevin McCarthy gave Carlson more than 44,000 hours of security footage from that infamous day. Tiptoeing around the irrefutable acts of violence, Carlson hand-picked certain moments to create a false narrative, portraying the riot as a peaceful protest. Carlson went as far as to call some rioters “sightseers” rather than “insurrectionists.” He even defended Jacob Chansley, aka the “QAnon Shaman.” Many were offended by Carlson’s deceptive editing, including the family of Brian Sicknick, a U.S. Capital police officer who died on January 7, 2021.

#9: M&M’s Not S&M Enough

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” (2016-23)

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” tackles topics that truly matter… like when the Green M&M traded in her go-go boots for *gasp* a pair of sneakers! Ms. Brown also went from wearing high heels to… slightly less high heels. To say that these tweaks were bizarrely controversial would be an understatement. Carlson was arguably the most outspoken critic of the M&M’s losing their “sexy” footwear. He grew even more critical with the arrival of Purple, making lewd comments about her physique. Carlson’s war against the quote-unquote “Woke M&M’s” resulted in the spokescandies going on an “indefinite pause,” which lasted barely a month before a Super Bowl comeback. Who would’ve guessed that the M&M’s would be Spider-Man to Carlson’s J. Jonah Jameson?

#8: That Time He Called Out Bill O’Reilly’s “Phoniness”

“Book TV” (1998-)

In 2003, Bill O’Reilly was Fox News’ biggest name and Carlson was a commentator at CNN of all places. Making an appearance on C-SPAN to discuss his new book, “Politicians, Partisans, and Parasites,” Carlson was asked about a quote regarding O’Reilly. Carlson went on to discuss how he thinks the persona O’Reilly perpetuates on TV is just a character that he’s playing. He also theorized that once O’Reilly is caught acting out of character, it’s over for him. This interview predicted the further in more ways than one. In 2017, O’Reilly’s reign at Fox News ended amid a highly publicized scandal while Carlson essentially filled his shoes. You know, if irony was made of frozen dinners, we’d all need a lot more refrigerator space.

#7: His “Primitive” Comments on “Bubba the Love Sponge”

Following his CNN stint, Carlson regularly offered his two cents on Bubba the Love Sponge’s radio show. Between 2006 and 2011, Carlson made statements that make his Fox News segments feel tame by comparison. On multiple occasions, he stood up for religious leader Warren Jeffs, who was convicted of assaulting two underage followers in 2011. Jeffs is currently serving a life sentence plus two decades. During his conversations with the shock jock, Carlson used several degrading words to describe women, including “primitive,” “pig,” and a few others we won’t repeat. Carlson also singled out Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, calling her “unattractive.” When these clips resurfaced in 2019, Charlson chalked up his comments to “naughty,” saying he wouldn’t “bow to the mob” with an apology.

#6: Bill Nye the Science Guy Gives a Climate Change Lesson

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” (2016-23)

There are at least two things that Bill Nye has a better grasp on than Carlson. 1) How to pull off a bowtie, and 2) science. Nye discussed the latter during this 2017 appearance. Specifically, the two went head-to-head regarding climate change deniers. Guess which side Carlson was on. Nye argued that climate change’s existence is a simple fact and if you think otherwise, it might be the result of cognitive dissonance. The Science Guy also tried to explain how human activity is a driving force behind global warming, but he struggled to get more than a word in edgewise. The two didn’t part seeing eye to eye, but Nye did determine how long it takes for Carlson to interrupt him: roughly six seconds.

#5: Antifa Debate

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” (2016-23)

Gaining more attention with the 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump, the Antifa movement opposes fascism and racism. Although some Antifa activists have been linked to violence, most groups take a nonviolent approach outside of self-defense. In 2017, Antifa supporter and professor Michael Isaacson appeared on Carlson’s show. Isaacson spoke out against neo-nazi and white supremacist Richard Spencer, saying that his public hate speech incites violence. Carlson countered that he was challenging the First Amendment, but Isaacson argued that people like Spencer shouldn’t be able to spread hate unchallenged. Throughout their back and forth, Carlson repeatedly asked Isaacson about his teaching credentials. Despite making it abundantly clear that he is a professor, Carlson somehow mistook him for a congressman as the debate wrapped.

#4: Tucker’s True Colors

“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (2014-)

On multiple occasions, John Oliver has turned Carlson into a punchline. However, the late-night comedian wouldn’t dedicate an entire segment to Carlson until 2021. Oliver analyzed Carlson’s upbringing, career, and history of divisive comments, questioning if the far-right host is a white supremacist. Oliver argued that just because Carlson isn’t a member of the KKK doesn’t mean that he isn’t endorsing similar ideals. He even compared one of Carlson’s comments to the white supremacist slogan. Whether or not Carlson fits the definition of a white supremacist, Oliver pointed out that many white supremacists have thrown support behind him, including KKK leader David Duke. On his own show, Carlson has repeatedly questioned what racism looks like. To Oliver, there’s a clear answer.

#3: The Segment That Wasn’t Aired

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” (2016-23)

In January 2019, Dutch historian Rutger Bregman went viral after accusing billionaires at the Davos World Economic Forum of avoiding taxes. The following month, Bregman asserted that Carlson was part of the problem while appearing on his show. We’re used to seeing Carlson fire back at his guests, but the host became more agitated than usual, dropping the f-bomb before calling Bregman “a moron.” Fox News didn’t air the segment, but that didn’t stop Bregman from subsequently leaking it. Acting as if this was the first time he’s ever been rude, Carlson claimed that the segment wasn’t aired because of the profanity. This explanation has been called into question, though, as Fox News has merely bleeped swear words in the past.

#2: Tucker’s Trump Texts

People often question whether Carlson believes everything he says, especially concerning the praise that he’s showered upon Donald Trump. In 2023, Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox News brought Carlson’s private messages to light. He criticized co-workers and network higher-ups, which has been cited as a reason why Fox News decided to dismiss Carlson and pay out the rest of his contract. It was also revealed that in January 2021, Carlson sent a text message saying that Fox News was “very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights.” Carlson added that he “passionately” hated the former president, although soon after these texts were made public, he’d find himself interviewing Trump about his legal troubles and prospects for a 2024 run.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few other Tuckerisms.

Sex-Crazed Pandas, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (2016-23)

We’d Like to Say That This Is His Show’s Most Eyebrow-Raising Story

Getting Eliminated First, “Dancing with the Stars” (2005-)

Tucker Didn’t Win Bruno Over

Praise for Putin, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (2016-23)

So, Russia or Ukraine, Which Do You Prefer, Tuck?

His Thoughts on Immigration, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (2016-23)

We Feel Like There’s a “South Park” Meme That Can Sum This Up

“The Worst Human Being”

This Guy Wasn’t Fishing for Compliments

#1: Jon Stewart Takedown

“Crossfire” (1982-2005; 2013-2014)

Sometimes we forget that Calrson was a co-host on “Crossfire” during the early 2000s. Then we remember Jon Stewart’s epic appearance in October 2004. Stewart might’ve been in the middle, but it was Carlson and Paul Begala who got caught in the comedian’s crossfire. Although Stewart was there to discuss his book, it quickly turned into a brutal critique of the show and what he considers its negative impact on America. Stewart also went after Calrson’s wardrobe, specifically his trademark bowties. Less than a year later, CNN’s new president, Jonathan Klein, pulled the plug on “Crossfire” and Carlson’s contract wasn’t renewed. Although Carlson claims that he left “Crossfire,” Klein wanted to take CNN in another direction, saying, “I agree wholeheartedly with Jon Stewart’s overall premise.”