Protesters gathered outside the home of Fox News host Tucker Carlson in Northwest Washington on Wednesday evening, calling him racist and chanting “we know where you sleep at night,” the latest in a string of similar episodes in which prominent conservatives have been aggressively confronted in their private lives.
Carlson, who is often denounced by liberal critics for his rhetoric about immigrants and minorities, was not home at the time, at about 6:30 p.m., and nor were his children. But his wife was there, and according to Carlson, she locked herself in the pantry and called 911 out of fear of a home invasion.
“Tucker Carlson, we are outside your home,” one person can be heard saying in a video of the incident that was posted to social media and has since been deleted. The person accuses Carlson of “promoting hate” and “an ideology that has led to thousands of people dying.”
The protesters were scattering by the time police arrived. No one was arrested and the confrontation, which is thought to have involved about 20 people, is being investigated as a suspected hate crime, according to a police report.
Smash Racism DC, the anti-fascist group that helped organize the protest, was unapologetic Thursday, writing on Facebook: “Fascists are vulnerable. Confront them at their homes!”
In the post, which has since been deleted, the group said Carlson and other conservative pundits, along with President Trump, have fanned hatred and created an atmosphere that encourages political violence such as the recent mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, an argument Trump and his allies have rejected. “Fascist pundits who promote violence deserve no peace,” it said on Facebook.
In June, amid national debate over the separation of migrant children from their parents at the southern U.S. border, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled as she ate at a Mexican restaurant in D.C. In September, in an episode Smash Racism DC also helped organize, protesters shouted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and his wife out of an upscale restaurant, castigating the lawmaker for supporting the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
The confrontations have drawn criticism from figures across much of the political spectrum and provided grist for Republicans who have characterized the left as an angry mob.
Carlson was at his desk at Fox News when he received multiple text messages from neighbors about a commotion outside his home.
“I called my wife,” Carlson told The Washington Post. “She had been in the kitchen alone getting ready to go to dinner and she heard pounding on the front door and screaming. . . . Someone started throwing himself against the front door and actually cracked the front door.”
The police report does not mention damage to the front door. It says Carlson’s wife “retreated to a room in the rear of her home” after hearing loud banging and pounding on the door. Officers found an anarchy symbol spray-painted on the driveway, according to the police report.
The report describes the incident as a suspected hate crime with “anti-political” bias. Police have stepped up their presence in the neighborhood as they continue investigating the incident, spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said.
Carlson said the protesters had blocked off both ends of his street and carried signs that listed his home address. A woman was also overheard in one of the deleted videos saying she wanted to “bring a pipe bomb” to his house, he said.
“It wasn’t a protest. It was a threat,” Carlson said. “They weren’t protesting anything specific that I had said. They weren’t asking me to change anything. They weren’t protesting a policy or advocating for legislation. . . . They were threatening me and my family and telling me to leave my own neighborhood in the city that I grew up in.”
One of the protesters told The Post the group did not intend to be violent and did not attempt to break into Carlson’s home. The protester, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation, said that the group wanted to make Carlson uncomfortable.
“The reason for this tactic is to bring the pain that is felt every day among marginalized people who have been victim of right-wing politics to Tucker and make it personal,” the protester said. “He has explicitly made far-right politics go mainstream. That is what he has done with his television show and platform.”
The person said the group did not plan to protest in front of Carlson’s home in the dark, but failed to account for last weekend’s daylight saving time change. He said Trump and others on the right consistently describe protests by anyone on the left as violent and out of control, whatever the facts — so the group is unconcerned if their more extreme tactics make Democrats look bad.
Carlson’s home address, as well as the addresses of his brother and good friend Neil Patel, with whom he co-founded the conservative media site the Daily Caller, were shared in tweets from Smash Racism DC’s account after the protest.
On Twitter, Smash Racism DC also accused Carlson of spreading “fear into our homes” every night, taking particular issue with his comments about the caravan of migrants who are traveling through Mexico on their way to the United States.
“Tonight you’re reminded that we have a voice,” a now-deleted tweet from the group read. “Tonight, we remind you that you are not safe either.”
Following backlash and news reports, Twitter deleted the tweets and suspended the group’s account early Thursday morning. The Facebook video was also taken down, but the group’s page is still up.
The “doxing” of Carlson — the revealing of his personal information on the Internet — and the subsequent protest at his home prompted widespread condemnation from a range of news and media figures.
Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume decried it as “revolting, and frightening.”
S.E. Cupp, a CNN host, wrote on Twitter that the activists’ actions were “not okay,” adding, “Don’t do this.”
Washington Post columnist Max Boot, who has been critical of Carlson, also spoke out. “I think Tucker is a terrible influence on modern America but that doesn’t justify harassing him at home,” Boot tweeted. “Go high, not low.”