Fox News has denied claims by one of its own hosts that Tucker Carlson was due to take a vacation amid the ongoing controversy surrounding historic comments he made on a shock jock radio show.
There have been questions on whether the beleaguered host will remain on air as offensive comments Carlson made during appearances on the Bubba the Love Sponge Show several years ago continued to come to light.
Confusion spread when Carlson signed off from his Tucker Carlson Tonight on March 1 and handed the show over to fellow Fox News host Sean Hannity.
During their brief exchange, Hannity claimed that Carlson was meant to be on vacation but had continued to host his show in order to face the storm head-on.
“I got to give you a compliment,” Hannity said: “So Tucker was going to be off this week…but it becomes a busy news week, and he’s not going to take the mob’s crap. And he came in to work to stand up to this, and I want the great viewers of this channel to know that.”
Carlson then thanked Hannity and said that he has “helped him every bit of the way.”
“I’m an expert in this, they’ve been trying to kill me for 23 years,” Hannity said. “Anyway, always great to see you and have a great rest of vacation that you were supposed to have.”
Carlson did not correct Hannity. A Fox News spokesperson told The Washington Post that Carlson was always scheduled to be on work this week and that Hannity had simply misspoke when wished a “great rest of vacation.”
A Fox News spokesperson later confirmed to Newsweek that Carlson is “not going on vacation this week or next.”
In the latest round of radio clips unearthed by Media Matters, Carlson was found to have made a series of derogatory and sexist remarks about a Miss Teen USA pageant contestant in 2007. He also made unsubstantiated claims that the pageant’s host, actor Mario Lopez, had sex with the contestant, who Carlson suggested was 17 at the time.
Carlson’s offensive remarks included describing women as “extremely primitive” and Iraq as a “crappy place filled with a bunch of…semiliterate primitive monkeys.”
Carlson has repeatedly refused to apologize for his comments.
“We’ve always apologized when we’re wrong, and we’ll continue to do that,” Carlson said on his show. “But we will never bow to the mob, ever. No matter what.”
This article has been updated to include statement from Fox News.