Police responded Wednesday night when anti-fascist activists showed up at the Washington, D.C., home of Tucker Carlson and began banging on the door and shouting threats like, “We know where you sleep at night.”
The Fox News host wasn’t home and neither were any of his four children. But his wife was there and quickly locked herself in the pantry and called 911.
“It wasn’t a protest. It was a threat,” Carlson told The Washington Post on Thursday. “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.”
Carlson has drawn criticism for his rhetoric on immigration, for routinely promoting vitriol toward Democrats, for defending nationalism and more. The host is well aware of the animosity of his critics. He recently complained he can’t eat at most D.C. restaurants because people frequently yell insults at him.
“I don’t feel threatened, but having someone scream ‘Fuck you!’ at a restaurant, it just wrecks your meal,” he said on a National Review podcast.
Wednesday night’s protest, though, marked a turning point, Carlson said. A group of roughly 20 people gathered outside his home and banged against the door, calling the Fox host a “racist scumbag” and demanding that he “leave town,” according to since-deleted posts on Twitter.
Videos of the protest were reportedly posted online by an anti-fascist group called Smash Racism D.C., the Twitter account of which has since been suspended. In one of the deleted videos, a woman could be heard saying she wanted to “bring a pipe bomb” to Carlson’s house.
“How can you go out for dinner and leave the kids at home at this point?” Carlson said. “If they’re talking about pipe bombs ... how do you live like that?”
A member of Smash Racism D.C.’s Facebook group confirmed to HuffPost that it had organized the protest at Carlson’s home.
“We 100 percent stand by our decision to publicly shame Tucker Carlson” even though “direct action can be uncomfortable,” the group told HuffPost.
Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace issued a statement Thursday condemning the incident.
“The incident that took place at Tucker’s home last night was reprehensible,” the statement said. “The violent threats and intimidation tactics toward him and his family are completely unacceptable. We as a nation have become far too intolerant of different points of view.”
Media figures across the political spectrum condemned the protest. Matthew Gertz, a senior fellow at liberal media watchdog Media Matters who has criticized Carlson in the past, called the activists’ confrontation “way over the line.”
“Going to someone’s home, breaking their door, and terrorizing their family is unacceptable,” Gertz said in a tweet. “It’s also extremely counterproductive if your interest is actually in reducing his influence.”
“I think Tucker is a terrible influence on modern America but that doesn’t justify harassing him at home,” Boot said in a tweet. “Go high, not low.”
CNN’s Brian Stelter condemned the protest in his nightly newsletter, images of which he shared on Twitter.
“Get a permit for a protest outside Carlson’s office if you want,” Stelter wrote. “But don’t chant ‘we know where you sleep at night’ outside his home.”
This story has been updated with a statement from Fox News.