The left has been trying for some time to silence conservative Fox News host Tucker Carlson. And thanks to the left-leaning anti-Fox organization Media Matters, they’ve finally got some ammunition in the form of some offensive comments — though it’s admittedly a bit out of date.
But due to the First Amendment, there isn’t much more the left can do besides boycotting and demanding that Carlson give up his job. But what if this was Canada, or the U.K.? Then Carlson could potentially be punished with criminal “hate speech” charges. If only… they wish.
“Hate speech” laws
Media Matters drew attention to some of Carlson’s comments made over a decade ago during calls to the “Bubba the Love Sponge” radio show, in which he jokingly made a number of remarks that have been deemed racist and sexist and xenophobic.
While those remarks could conceivably cost him his job here in the United States, were he or Fox News to cave to the coordinated and organized pressure campaign — they could very well cost him a lot more in Canada or the U.K.
Legal experts in both British and Canadian law told Newsweek that Carlson could potentially face “hate speech” charges under Canadian or British law. But both experts cautioned that such charges are rarely filed, much less prosecuted to a conviction.
“Could these conversations, in terms of their content, qualify as hate speech under (Canadian) legislation? Yes they could,” explained Toronto-based criminal lawyer David Butt. However, Butt admitted that there are varying degrees within the law, that hate speech charges have to come from the top and that intent to “willfully promote hatred” would be difficult to prove.
Criminal “abusive” language
A British lawyer with the Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors legal firm in London, Sean Caulfield, told Newsweek that Carlson’s commentary might “amount to a criminal offense.”
Caulfield said that while most of Carlson’s offensive comments wouldn’t constitute criminal offenses, some of his remarks could be considered “abusive” and fall under Section 5 of the Public Order Act of 1986, which has made it a crime to use “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior, or disorderly behavior.”
Again, Caulfield stressed that while Carlson could face charges if he were British, it would be highly unlikely for prosecutors to move forward with a case against him.
Exercise in futility
Ironically, one of the main reasons put forward by the Canadian lawyer as to why prosecutors would be unlikely to pursue charges applies directly to the U.S. media — and should shame them — as Butt suggested that prosecutors wouldn’t want to “risk giving too much attention to the content of the speech and risk inadvertently helping the hatemonger spread his or her message.”
In digging up Carlson’s decade-old remarks, that is exactly what the Fox-hating liberal media has done by repeatedly playing the clips and highlighting the supposedly hateful and terrible things he said that nobody should ever hear … except for the 100-plus times it is replayed by CNN and MSNBC, of course.
In the end, this whole article by Newsweek is a moot point, as Carlson isn’t British or Canadian or based in either country, and is therefore not subject to their restrictive speech laws. That, plus that pesky First Amendment protecting free speech that we have here in the U.S.